Community Voices

Anaheim Initiative for Fair Pay and Worker Protections Against Sexual Assault led by UNITE HERE Local 11 Goes to City Leaders

The initiative would follow the lead of Irvine and Los Angeles County cities to mandate panic buttons and other protections for hotel housekeepers

Anaheim, CA: After getting over 26,000 signatures for the “hospitality worker bill of rights law” in Anaheim, the UNITE HERE Local 11-led initiative has now qualified to be considered by the Anaheim City Council for a vote.

Cities in Southern California, such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica, Glendale, and West Hollywood, have adopted laws guaranteeing fair pay for heavy workloads and protection against sexual assault for housekeepers who work alone in guest rooms, among other protections. In Orange County, Irvine was the first to follow suit by passing a “hotel housekeeper bill of rights” law.

Anaheim City Council will be the next to vote on the initiative. If passed, the ordinance will provide the following standards at hotels and event centers in Anaheim:

  • Panic buttons with a security guard on call, mandatory training, and security protocols to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening conduct by guests and others

  • Fair pay when housekeepers are assigned heavy workloads and a prohibition on mandatory overtime after 10 hours

  • $25.00 minimum wage for hotel housekeepers and other hotel and event center workers, with an annual increase in wage to reflect the cost of living

  • Protections ensure workers are retained when new owners or operators take over their workplaces

The call for the “worker bill of rights law” in Anaheim comes as hospitality workers report that they have been forced to perform heavy workloads without fair compensation and receive wages that have failed to account for the fast-rising cost of living. At the same time, the hotel industry’s profits are soaring as pricing for hotel rooms exceeds the rate of inflation, and the industry’s revenue per room surpasses pre-pandemic levels.

“For all the hard labor of hospitality workers, we are left with wages that don’t account for the cost of living,” said Irayda Torrez, a housekeeper at the Hilton Anaheim for 33 years. “Anaheim, like the rest of Orange County, is becoming more and more expensive. I need a livable wage to pay my rent and to feed myself and my household. Something as small as paying for our family dog Snoopy’s food can be a challenge.”

Hospitality workers who make beds, cook meals, serve coffee, wash dishes, and cater to the thousands of guests who travel to Anaheim’s tourist attractions, deserve to be able to afford to live in the city they work. Anaheim now has the opportunity to set an example for a successful major tourist city in Orange County.

“By qualifying this initiative, the Anaheim community and Anaheim hospitality workers have spoken out for change,” said Ada Briceño, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “It’s imperative that the city adopts this ordinance as soon as it goes before the City Council.”

If the City Council of Anaheim does not vote to pass the initiative as it is written, the bill will be sent to the voters of Anaheim as a ballot initiative. Anaheim hospitality workers hope that their City Council will answer their call for fair working conditions and wages.


UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports