Labor Activists Warn Comic-Con That Moving To Anaheim Could Be Unpleasant | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Labor Activists Warn Comic-Con That Moving To Anaheim Could Be Unpleasant

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Fri, May 21, 2010 at 6:01 AM

click to enlarge A hunger strike outside Disney headquarters in Burbank earlier this year. - UNITE HERE
  • Unite Here
  • A hunger strike outside Disney headquarters in Burbank earlier this year.
A labor union representing hotel workers involved in a bitter dispute with Disney's Anaheim hotels warned organizers of Comic-Con that if they moved the popular summer convention from San Diego to Orange County that it would likely be affected by labor actions.

"If you chose to" move to Anaheim "you could find your future events caught in the middle of a bitter labor dispute that could jeopardize their success," Tom Walsh, president of Unite Here Local 11, wrote to Comic-Con International. Comic-Con has been flirting with the idea of moving the convention because it says it has outgrown its popular San Diego digs.

Anaheim, Los Angeles and Las Vegas were being considered for new locations, but San Diego city officials and business leaders have dangled a major expansion of the convention center there as a reason to stay.

The convention has become a destination for Hollywood producers as the industry relies more and more on comic-book heroes to drive big-money franchises. If it moved to Orange County or L.A., it would be closer to those agents and executives that have become an increasingly important part of the comic business.

If it moves to O.C., it would be held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Still, at least some attendees, it is presumed, would want to stay at Disney's hotels in the area. And protests could provide some possible disruption in the area.

Unite Here has been fighting Disney over its proposal to increase the amount hotel workers contribute to health insurance coverage to a level representing a week's pay for those who make $11 an hour, union spokeswoman Leigh Shelton told the Weekly.

Most of Unite Here's 2,100 members in Anaheim are Latino immigrants who work as housekeepers and other physically demanding roles. Disney runs three hotel-resorts in Anaheim, including the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier. The union has staged a number of protests, including a hunger strike outside Disney's corporate headquarters in Burbank.

"We've told Comic-Con that in Anaheim things aren't going well," Shelton said. "We see it as our duty to remind Disney at every opportunity that they need to do well by these workers."

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