A Los Angeles based hotel workers union, UNITE/HERE Local 11, has been trying to scare the Comic-Con convention away from relocating to Anaheim. In a letter to the Comic-Con board, the union warns that if Comic-Con comes to Anaheim, “you could find your events caught in the middle of a bitter labor dispute that could jeopardize their success.” The union’s letter goes on to detail the union’s protests against the hotels owned by Disney over their stalled union contract negotiations. The union also pointedly mentions the expiration of union contracts this year at two other large Anaheim hotels, which the union threatens “could disrupt activities held at the Convention Center.”
Comic-Con has steadily grown into a huge event that pumps millions into the San Diego economy every year. Los Angeles (where the bulk of the union’s membership and political support is located) is reportedly in the running with Anaheim for a possible relocation. If either was selected, it would provide a substantial boost for their local economy and for employees in their tourism industry. The union apparently is unconcerned over the collateral damage its war with Disney will inflict on other businesses and their employees in Orange County.
As reported at Red County, the Orange County hotel association is fighting back with a website, Fight for Anaheim Jobs!, seeking to generate community opposition to the union’s tactics. With a possible $100 million infusion into the local economy at stake, UNITE/HERE could end up with its own public relations problems in Orange County if Comic-Con passes on Anaheim.