A Superior Court judge in Orange County, William D. Claster has recently rejected Disneyland employees’ class-action lawsuit against Disneyland Resort, demanding a higher living wage according to Measure L, an Anaheim living-wage law. More than 25,000 Disneyland Resort employees signed the lawsuit, but Judge Claster dismissed it claiming Disney is not required to comply with it.
Measure L is a living-wage law from Anaheim, signed in 2018 by voters that gives all hospitality workers in the Anaheim Resort to get paid a minimum of $18 an hour from 2022 if the business gets a tax rebate subsidy from the city.
Judge Claster said in his statement that Disneyland expansion agreement signed in 1996 does not come under the tax rebate subsidy. In the 1996 agreement, the city issued $510 million in resort infrastructure investment, while Disney put in $1.4 billion in investments.
“The finance agreement has the apparent effect of giving the Disney Defendants a 100% abatement on debt service payments, not taxes. This is a significant benefit to the Disney Defendants, but again, there is no evidence that the finance agreement somehow lessens their tax obligations.”
The attorney representing the Disneyland workers, Randy Renick said regarding the ruling, “We disagree with the court’s narrow reading of Measure L and believe Monday’s ruling eviscerates the 2018 vote to adopt a living wage in Anaheim. The plaintiffs are considering all their options, including appeal. It’s disappointing that Disney can take hundreds of millions of dollars from the city of Anaheim and yet refuse to pay over 25,000 workers a living wage.”
The attorney also argued that the Mickey and Friends parking structure, that the city not only invested in but also leases to Disneyland for $1 per year constitutes the company to comply with the living wage, but to no avail in front of the judge.
Rennick also clarified that the decision and defense is evading the law saying, “Anaheim voters went to the polls and voted that the companies who take subsidies from the city must pay their workers a living wage. The judge’s hyper-technical ruling that the hundreds of millions received by Disney don’t qualify as a subsidy disregards the clear intent of the vote. Measure L is super clear. You take a subsidy, you have to pay a living wage. It’s frustrating to say the least that Disney’s dodging that.”