Anaheim to Vote on Minimum Wage Increase for Disneyland, Resorts

Anaheim City Council debated and ultimately voted, 4-3, to let a measure aimed at increasing the minimum wages for Disneyland workers and workers at nearby hotels go to a city vote.

Due to the council's vote, Anaheim residents will now get to decide if workers in the resort district, which includes Disneyland, will get a raise for what they call a "living wage."

The measure targets Disneyland but also includes a handful of hotels under construction nearby. All businesses potentially affected by the measure receive subsidies from the city of Anaheim.

Opponents say that the minimum wage jump to $15 an hour, with a bump of $1 more per year until 2022 may actually lead to greater unemployment for the workers the measure aims to help.

"We estimate 3-4,000 jobs lost over next year or two by companies having to absorb this new increased cost," Todd Ament of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce told NBC4 News. "They're going to reduce hours and reduce jobs."

On the opposite side of the argument is Shannon Johnson.

Johnson drives from Riverside to work at the "Happiest Place on Earth" and makes $11 an hour at her room service job. She says there are days that she must choose between medicine and food because she cannot afford both.

"There are weeks where I work 70 hours a week," Johnson says. "You can only do that for so long, and it takes a toll on your body when you do it."

Disneyland has said its average worker makes $37,000 per year, but the unions backing the measure contend that nearly three out of four employees don't earn enough to pay for necessities like food, gas and rent.

In the background of the central arguements, construction workers at new hotels have gone on record saying their jobs could be in jeopardy if the measure passes and the hotels affected have delays or stop building.

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