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PrintHere at the Anaheim City Council meeting, the chambers are packed to overflowing for the big vote on the proposed Anaheim Convention Center expansion.

A different issue popped up during the public comments period: a “job retention” ordinance. That’s the innocuous term for forcing contractors, after they take over a contract from a different firm, to hire (or at least pay) the employees of the preceding contractor for a period of time, usually 2 or 3 months. It’s the type of invasive regulation one finds in politically left-of-center cities.

UNITE-HERE – which represents workers in the hotel and food service industries — mustered half a dozen members to take to the microphone and ask the City Council to adopt just such an ordinance. These members identified themselves as no longer working at Angel Stadium since their employer, Aramark, was terminated by the Angels in favor of Legends Sports and Entertainment.

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UNITE-HERE is 0 for 2 in its litigation against Anaheim Arena Management (AAM), which runs The Honda Center, over AAM’s decision last year against renewing its contract with Aramark and bring food service in-house. A press release from AAM came over the transom yesterday afternoon announcing “the Orange County Superior Court’s ruling on Friday granting a demurrer without leave to amend on the matter of Gonzalez vs. AAM.”

Translation: AAM wins, UNITE-HERE loses.

More from the AAM release:

“We are extremely pleased by the court’s decision today,” said AAM General Counsel Bernard Schneider. “Throughout this process we’ve remained confident that our actions were permissible under the law and in the best interest of the millions of guests we serve, as well as those who serve our guests. Today’s ruling certainly validates that assertion and brings to a successful end all litigation asserted by the union and former Aramark employees as a result of the termination of the Aramark concession agreement.”

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Guaranteed jobs...it works for Cuba!

Guaranteed jobs…it works for Cuba!

Is is right and just for the government to force a private company to offer jobs to specific individuals who were never that company’s employees in the first place?

That’s the question at the heart of the lawsuit filed by UNITE-HERE Local 11, claiming Anaheim Arena Management (which operates the Honda Center) has violated the state’s Displaced Janitors Opportunity Act (DJOC) — or more accurately, the amendment dropped into the law by the legislature this summer that applies only to the Honda Center. This arbitrary, capricious legislation was pushed through by Assembly Speaker John Perez (a union staffer-turned-legislator) at the behest of UNITE-HERE.

If a businesses replaces one janitorial contractor with another, the DJOC forces the new contractor to hire the old contractors employees for at least 60 days. Obviously, this creates a disincentive to change janitorial contractors, and is a significant obstacle to any entrepreneurial soul who might want go from being employee to business owner by starting his or her own janitorial service.

The legislature’s amendment this summer extended that requirement to “every contractor that provides food and beverage services at a publicly owned entertainment venue” that is also located in a state Enterprise Zone. Guess how many venues fall within that definition? Only one: the Honda Center.

So now UNITE-HERE is suing AAM, claiming they are violating this new provision. I’m not sure how it applies to AAM, which isn’t replacing Aramark with another food and beverage contractor but providing that service directly, and the retention requirement of the code applies to contractors and sub-contractors and not the “awarding authority” (which is what AAM is).

But that is a matter for the lawyers and courts to sort  out.

There are deeper issues at stake. One is that the UNITE-HERE amendment to the state labor code is unjust. Everyone was free to apply for food and beverage service jobs with Aramark. AAM offered interviews to everyone who applied. It hired a substantial number of Aramark employees — members of UNITE-HERE Local 11 — who had worked at the Honda Center.

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Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

Fidel Castro thinks retention is muy bueno.

UNITE-HERE Local 11, which represents Aramark food service workers at the Honda Center, has been pushing to impose a Los Angeles-style “retention” ordinance on Anaheim Arena Management (AAM).

A retention ordinance requires that when a city changes contractors, the new contractor has to pay the old contractors employees for a period of time — usually 90 days — and provide other benefits. Obviously, this is a significant barrier to outsourcing city services.

UNITE-HERE Local 11 is desperate to avoid the loss of members (i.e. revenue) that will result from AAM bringing food service in-house (in an effort to provide better food service to its customers) — as well as the additional $3.50  to $4.00 per hour/per employee the union receives for its expensive  health care plan overhead. Their protests are about the union’s bottom line, not the supposed loss of jobs to UNITE-HERE members who work at the Honda Center — only about half of whom have applied for jobs under the new arrangement.

Enter the liberals who are running the asylum known as the California Legislature. According to the OC Register, they are trying to impose a retention policy on Honda Center:

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