By Jim Tortolano
Garden Grove’s proximity to the Disneyland Resort area has been a major contributor to its ability to attract about a dozen new hotels to the Harbor Boulevard corridor.
But now an intriguing new wrinkle has been added to the situation, which could bring even more Disney influence still further south of Chapman Avenue.
According to articles posted and published at Bisnow.com and in the Orange County Register, the Walt Disney Co. and Wincome Group would rethink their plans to build more hotels and perhaps other attractions in Anaheim if a $18 minimum wage proposal in that city for hotel workers and certain others is approved on the November ballot.
The likely beneficiary? Garden Grove.
“Anaheim has become an increasingly hostile business environment, which is disappointing given our investments have created thousands of jobs and driven millions of tax dollars into the city,” said Disney’s Lisa Haines in a statement. “While Orange County will always be our home, the company has a choice on where it will invest and we are in active conversations about moving a wide range of investments elsewhere given the challenging dynamics.”
Published reports have Disney officials and Garden Grove City Manager Scott Stiles confirming that discussions have occurred about that possibility.
The proposed minimum wage increase would require that businesses that get city tax subsidies – primarily hotels – pay workers at least $15 an hour by 2019, going up to $18 an hour by 2022. The current minimum wage in Anaheim is $11 an hour.
One new hotel is already under construction in Anaheim, and two more are planned. It’s possible that other, as-yet unannounced ventures are being considered, given the high demand for Disney’s products and venues.
Unions representing hotel workers have gathered the 20,000 signatures needed to place the matter on the November ballot. If the Orange County Registrar of Voters verifies the signatures, the city council can enact the proposal or let voters decide.
It may not go that far. Disney is now offering a $15 minimum wage for its local Orange County workers by 2020, although the union has been cool to that idea, arguing that amount is still not a living wage for full-time employees.
Categories: Garden Grove