Unions, Latino groups and the Democratic Party will march through Anaheim later this month to pressure Walt Disney Co. to keep its unions if it builds a multibillion-dollar theme park next to Disneyland.
The coalition and the march are somewhat unusual for conservative Orange County, where Republicans tend to be the activists.
"There hasn't been a big celebration or march by organized labor in Orange County for probably 25 years," said Bill Fogarty of the county's Central Labor Council.
"We're going to invite the Republican Party too, but we've got a feeling they're going to decline."
While most employees at Disneyland and the large Disneyland Hotel are already organized, the hospitality-industry unions worry that Disney may try to keep them out of its new attraction.
"We're pro-Disney and pro-expansion," said Angela Keefe, president of the local Hotel and Restaurant Employees union, which represents 2,000 workers at the amusement park and hotel. "But we want our share of the pie.
"Are we going to represent a weak work force stuck in part-time jobs with low wages and no benefits? Or are we going to make sure new jobs are good jobs?"
Disney says about half the 12,000 jobs anticipated at the new theme park will be part-time or seasonal.
It's not even definite that the new amusement park, Westcot Center, and the rest of the planned Disneyland Resort--hotels, shopping and parking--will ever be built.
In a controversial move, Disney is asking government to chip in more than $750 million for roads, freeway ramps and utilities toward the nearly $3-billion project. So far, city, state and federal governments have pledged far less.
So the show of support from the "We Make the Magic" march, which organizers say may draw as many as 2,000, comes at an opportune time for the immense entertainment company. The support of the unions might be somewhat helpful to Disney in squeezing more money out of Anaheim, since the city is relatively heavily unionized by Orange County standards.
Latino groups could be helpful, too, since Latinos make up about one-third of the city's population of 285,000.
Then there's this: If there \o7 is\f7 a massive public investment in the theme park, it gives the unions some leverage in pushing Anaheim officials to insist that the jobs created by that investment be unionized and fairly well-paying.
"Labor built Anaheim, and now we clean the toilets and change the beds in the hotels," said Keefe, a young, activist union leader who helped devise the march. "This is to remind people.
"Our goal," she said, "is to make Anaheim a union town by the year 2000."
Not coincidentally, at about the time of the march, Keefe's union starts preliminary talks over renewing contracts with two of the biggest hotels near Disneyland, the Disneyland Hotel and the Anaheim Hilton.
Also participating in the march are the construction unions, which want to ensure they get a piece of what could become one of the nation's largest construction projects.
The march is scheduled for Oct. 23 and starts south on Harbor Boulevard from the Grand Hotel at 4 p.m., turning west onto Katella Avenue and then into nearby Stoddard Park.