The class action lawsuit was filed by Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai LLP partners Cornelia Dai and Randy Renick and Richard McCracken of McCracken, Stemerman & Holsberry, LLP in Orange County Superior Court Friday December 7, on behalf of five resort workers. The suit accuses Disney of “unlawful conduct and unfair business practices” and claims that Disney workers are entitled to a base salary of $15/hr.
Plaintiff Kathleen Grace, a Starbucks barista, said, “I love Anaheim and that is why I came together with my fellow plaintiffs to make sure that every resort worker gets paid the living wage we deserve.” Other plaintiffs include a hotel bell hop, a cashier, a makeup artist and a banquet server.
Disney, Sodexo and SodexoMagic (the latter 2 operate restaurants and coffee shops in the resort) are named defendants.
According to Ballot Measure L, which was backed by the resort workers’ union Unite Here Local 11 and took effect in January 2019, any hospitality business with city subsidies is required to pay workers $15/hour, with salaries rising $1 every year until Jan. 22. The claim asserts that Disney’s parking garage was subsidized by the City of Anaheim, and therefore Disney must abide by the measure.
In a 1996 agreement between Disney and the City, Disney tax dollars, along with some taxes from other local hotels, are being used over the course of 40 years to pay off the construction bonds for the Mickey & Friends parking structure. Disney collects over $35 million/year parking revenue from the garage.
Although Disney and the City argue otherwise, attorney for the workers Randy Renick claims that “Disney has received over $500 million in subsidies from the City of Anaheim and as a result of the passage of Measure L, it must pay its workers a living wage.”
If the court finds that the garage is a subsidy, over 400 current and former cast members are entitled to recover back wages, restitution, and damages. Randy Renick said “With the back pay, we’re talking millions of dollars.”