Thousands sue Disneyland over low pay

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about 25,000 Disneyland Employees are suing the company over low wages, taking part in a class-action lawsuit that claims employers are legally obligated to pay the minimum wage.

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Gabriel Sarrasino has worked for 15 years as a valet, parking car and helping visitors with their bags at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, southeast of Los Angeles, California. During that time, he has been paid minimum wage by Disney and is using tips to increase his salary.

“We think there’s always someone else who will fill our place,” said Mr. Sarrasino. SFGATE.


The company’s leadership recently decided that the valet could not take care of the guests’ belongings, which led to Mr. Sarrasino’s tips.

“I couldn’t make it to the minimum wage, which is how much they pay me,” Mr Sarracino said. “If they’re going to make changes where I have less opportunities for suggestions, that’s half my income. [gone]”

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A survey of 5,000 employees showed that many employees are facing difficult living situations as a result of their low pay from Disney.

Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable published a 132 page survey In February 2018, Disneyland resort employees called “Working for the Mouse” said that 11 percent of employees had experienced homelessness in the past two years due to low wages. At least 68 per cent struggled with food insecurity, with 73 per cent saying they are not sufficient to cover basic living expenses.

Workers have said they want to get another job, but Disneyland schedules them differently each week, which makes it difficult to take on another gig.

Matt Bell, secretary-treasurer of UFCW 324 — a union that represents 2,500 Disneyland shop workers — told SFGATE That the conditions that made life difficult for Disneyland workers in 2018 still exist three years later, and it’s probably worse.

These conditions prompted the Orange County coordinator for Union Unite Here Local 11, Austin Lynch, to begin collecting signatures to become Major L.

“The gist of the initiative was this: If you’re getting taxpayer subsidies in the resort area, you should be paying a living wage,” said Mr. Lynch. SFGATE. “This was based on the fact that Disney has received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax liability over the years. In return, [they should] Pay people enough to live. “

The measure was voted into law in Anaheim in 2018 and says that a business that benefits from the city’s subsidies must pay its employees at least $18 an hour by 2022, plus an increase in pay. As the cost of living increases.

Mr Lynch said the initiative garnered 25,000 signatures in just two weeks.

Disneyland has agreed to a starting salary of $15 – California’s minimum wage is $14 for businesses with payrolls of more than 26 people.

“But several thousand workers were left behind,” said Mr. Lynch. “Some that were left out would have been covered by the law.”

That’s why Disney employee unions have gathered workers to sue the company, arguing that the company is receiving city subsidies and should follow Measure L.

The lawsuit gained class-action status in July and will decide whether the city of Anaheim provided $550m for the construction of Disneyland’s Mickey & Friends garage, with $108m going to the garage’s construction and the rest of the Anaheim Convention. Center and going to Disney, what can be considered city subsidies.

At the heart of the matter is whether Disney is taking subsidies because of the city’s complicated plan by which Anaheim is paying off municipal bonds it took to pay for a garage it opened in 2000. The bond is mostly being paid back through taxes paid by Disney and hotel room taxes borne by the city.

The attorney who filed the class-action lawsuit, Randy Renick, thinks the repayment plan is a subsidy because the garage was financed by the city but Disney is keeping the profit.

“I think the issues here are simple: Voters demanded that companies like Disney, which take public handouts, pay their employees a living wage,” Mr. Renick said Los Angeles Times. “Disney shouldn’t get the pass.”

But both Disneyland and the city of Anaheim deny that the company is receiving subsidies. The garage sits on land owned by Disney, but was built by the city, which still owns the garage.

The city sees this as an investment, not a subsidy.

Anaheim spokesman Mike Lister told SFGATE: “We have a common interest. They are interested in running successful theme parks, shopping, dining and hotels, and we are interested in seeing a thriving economy that is based on visitors.”

He said, “Building parking infrastructure allows more people to come and spend money on parks in our city, which in turn generates revenue that we use to fund public safety, libraries and community centers.” Huh.”

“It just makes sense for us to have Disney operate it,” Mr Lister said. “We have to get the insurance done and do regular maintenance. There are costs that come with operating a parking structure. So it’s really in our best interest to operate because they bear those costs. “

“We believe that [we] Will prevail and Disney will have to pay a fair salary,” said Mr. Bell. “Right now, it’s supposed to be $17 an hour, and in 2022, it’s going to be $18. It’s not going to make our members rich, just make it so that maybe they can pay their rent now, or they’ll be on the table.” to have food.”

Granthshala Disneyland has been reached for comment.

Credit: / California

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