Community Voices

Hospitality Workers Wait Unprotected as Anaheim Initiative for Fair Pay and Worker Protections Against Sexual Assault Goes to an Economic Study

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

After collecting thousands of signatures for the “hospitality worker bill of rights law” in Anaheim, an initiative led by UNITE HERE Local 11, Anaheim City Council voted last night to have city staff draft an economic study on the potential effects of the initiative. Over 75  hospitality workers and community leaders gathered in the council chambers during the vote to voice their urgent need for protection and fair pay in Anaheim. Now, Anaheim hospitality workers struggling to get by will be forced to wait until June, when the council will receive the study report and vote again to either pass the ordinance or send it to the voters as a ballot initiative. If the council approves it, 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

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 has prolonged the opportunity to join the movement to protect hospitality workers.

“I didn’t get panic buttons until 2019. Other workers still don’t have them,” said Irayda Torrez, a housekeeper at the Hilton Anaheim for 33 years. “I want Anaheim to know that workers need protections and fair pay in all hotels and event centers in Anaheim as soon as possible.”

The urgent need for the “hospitality worker bill of rights law” in Anaheim comes from hospitality workers’ reports that they have been forced to perform heavy workloads without fair pay and wages that have not kept pace with the increasing 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.

“Thousands of voters have signed the initiative because they understand that urgent change is required to ensure hospitality workers are treated fairly in Anaheim,” said Ada Briceño, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “City Council should pass the ordinance as soon as they are presented with the results of the economic study. Hospitality workers have waited long enough.”

Anaheim voters and hospitality workers hope the City Council will recognize the need to pass the initiative in June in order to protect hospitality workers and ensure they get their fair share of the profitable tourism industry.


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

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