The Anaheim City Council on Tuesday voted to oppose a hotel and event worker wage ballot measure going before Anaheim voters in an Oct. 3 special election, citing potential impacts to the City-owned Anaheim Convention Center and the larger visitor economy.
A majority of the City Council voted for the resolution opposing Measure A with two council members abstaining. The vote follows a June 27 decision by a majority of the City Council to submit an argument against the measure for a voter information guide.
Measure A, supported by the Unite Here Local 11 hotel worker union, would require all Anaheim hotels, motels and event centers 20,000 square feet or larger to pay a minimum starting wage of $25 per hour, among other provisions.
It would apply to the City of Anaheim as owner and operator of the Anaheim Convention Center and as owner of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Honda Center and City National Grove of Anaheim.
Along with wages, the initiative would limit hotel housekeepers to cleaning no more than 4,000 square feet of space in hotels with fewer than 60 rooms and no more than 3,500 square feet in hotels with 60 rooms or more unless they are paid double their daily pay. Also included are provisions requiring security devices and overtime pay.
On June 27, the City adopted a separate hotel worker safety ordinance that will take effect Jan. 1, 2024. The ordinance requires hotels to provide electronic security alarms to those working in hotel rooms and restrooms, alarm monitoring and response, reporting of incidents to hotel management for tracking and remedying, notifying guests of security policies at check-in with warning that violations will result in removal at their own cost and paid time for training and to report incidents to Anaheim Police.
The City Council majority voted to oppose Measure A based on potential adverse impacts to City revenue and to Anaheim’s visitor economy as outlined in two fiscal impact reports done for the City.
The Anaheim Convention Center could see increased yearly wage costs and other impacts of up to $8.6 million a year, which could lead to less funding for City services from convention visitors, according to one report. You can read the report here.
With impacts to hotels, Anaheim could see $4 million less in hotel-tax revenue by 2028 if the measure is approved, according to a second report.
The report cites limited long-term ability of hotels to raise rates, reduced demand and hotel occupancy and less to no growth in the number of hotel rooms in the City as investors opt for other markets to finance new hotels. You can see the report here.
The initiative was circulated for signatures of registered Anaheim voters earlier this year and was certified by the Orange County Registrar of Voters on April 26. Proponents of the measure submitted 27,215 signatures, with 16,842 verified signatures of registered Anaheim voters needed for certification. You can read the full initiative here.
On June 27, the City Council ordered an Oct. 3 special election date based on a recommendation from the Orange County Registrar of Voters to allow time for filing arguments and rebuttals, printing a voter information guide, sending out mail ballots, opening vote centers and other requirements.
The City will work with the Registrar of Voters to open vote centers at community centers and other locations 10 days prior to and on Oct. 3 and to have ballot drop boxes in place 29 days prior to and on Oct. 3. You can see special election information here.
A special election is estimated to cost $1.5 million to $1.6 million and will be paid for by the City using funds available in its upcoming budget for the 12 months through June 2024.
The City Council had the option of placing the initiative on the Nov. 5, 2024, general election ballot at a cost of $198,891 to $233,265. A majority of City Council members declined the November 2024 option, citing a need to address the initiative’s workplace implications and economic concerns sooner than that.
With the backing of Unite Here, a lawsuit against the City has been filed over Council’s process of ordering the Oct. 3 special election. You can see the lawsuit here. The City of Anaheim stands by its action and sees the litigation as unnecessary.