Wondering what kind of anti-business policies single-member council districts would make more likely in Anaheim? Look no further than UNITE-HERE Local 11’s lobbying of the City of Anaheim to adopt a “retention” policy a la that paragon of mismanagement and ill-governance, Los Angeles.

To illustrate how “retention” works, I’ll excerpt from Los Angeles International Airport’s retention policy, which imposes these requirements on LAX contractors:

  • Contractor agrees to offer to employ and retain for a 90-day period the employees who worked for at least 12 months for the terminated contractor/subcontractors earning less than $15.00 per hour.
  • Contractor agrees to not discharge without cause the employees retained during the 90-day period.
  • Contractor agrees to perform a written performance evaluation of each employee retained at the end of the 90-day period.

[LAX packages their retention policy with a “Living Wage” ordinance: in LAX’s case, contractors were required, as of July 1, 20102, to pay their employees at least $10.70 an hour, along with a minimum health benefit hourly rate of $4.67 per hour (up from $1.70 per hour when the mandate was imposed in 2010).  Plus, the “Living Wage” has to be increased every year. If the contractor doesn’t provide health benefits, then the minimum health benefit hourly rate must be added to their pay – spiking the “Living Wage (in this case) to $15.37 per hour.]

UNITE-HERE is meeting with Anaheim city officials to press their case for imposing a retention policy on Anaheim contractors.

It’s not hard to see that “retention” robs private contractors of the freedom to run their businesses in the most cost-efficient way, and therefore provide quality services to the City of Anaheim. If the city changed vendors because a contractor was providing less-than-satisfactory service or failing to meet the terms of its contract, and the new contractor would have to hire the old contractor’s employees for a period of months — regardless of whether they are more skilled, experience or productive than the new contractor’s employees.

If the old contractor is being let go for poor performance, does it make sense to force to new vendor to keep those same employees doing the work? Is it fair to the employees of the new contractor, who will be denied this new work opportunity and possibly laid off in order for the contractor to take the new gig with the city?

Of course not — but the goal of retention is not economic efficiency or providing taxpayers with the best value.

I would be surprised if this proposal gets any traction with a single member of the Anaheim City Council. However, if it were the eight-member council, elected from single-member districts, that UNITE-Here, OCCORD, the OC Labor Federation and others on the Left are pushing, it is guaranteed at least a few councilmembers will be noisily calling for a “retention” ordinance and other anti-free enterprise regulations.