An act into law was signed by Democrat Gavin Newsom, the California Governor, that could raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to over $20 an hour for the first time in American history, setting the stage for major failure and making inflation even worse according to critics. Newsom signed AB 257, or the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act into law on September 5. Authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden, the law authorizes the creation of a Fast Food Council, which will be made up of 10 representatives from labor and management sectors and set minimum standards for workers in the industry.
Fast-food workers and their advocates, franchisees, franchisors, and representatives from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the Department of Industrial Relations will be included by the members of the Fast Food Council, according to an August 5 statement by the governor’s office. Further, conditions related to health and safety, security in the workplace, the right to take time off from work for protected purposes, protection from discrimination and harassment, and worker wages will all be included in the standards that the council will address, reported Today.
Wage averages for fast-food workers in California average at about $16.21 an hour, $2.57 less than the average for other service workers in the state, a recent Harvard Kennedy School and UC San Francisco study found. For chains with 100 or more locations across the U.S., AB 257 could raise wages as high as $22 an hour next year, becoming the first law of its kind in the nation and leading the way for other states to potentially follow suit.
This is what Newsom said in a written statement: “California is committed to ensuring that the men and women who have helped build our world-class economy are able to share in the state’s prosperity. Today’s action gives hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table to set fair wages and critical health and safety standards across the industry. I’m proud to sign this legislation on Labor Day when we pay tribute to the workers who keep our state running as we build a stronger, more inclusive economy for all Californians.”
On the other side, the International Franchise Association (IFA), a membership organization for over 1,400 franchise brands and 775,000 franchise small businesses nationwide that includes McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Sonic and more are the opponents of the new law.
After the act was signed into law, the IFA released a statement, saying that the legislation “singles out the quick-service restaurant industry and the franchise business model,” and stands to increase prices at impacted restaurants across the state, harming “local businesses, without improving existing worker protections in the state.”
President and CEO of the IFA in a statement, Matthew Haller said: “By signing this bill, Gov. Newsom is siding with special interests rather than the people and small businesses of California. This bill has been built on a lie, and now small business owners, their employees, and their customers will have to pay the price. This bill is a fork in the eye to franchise owners and customers at a time when it hurts most.”
Franchises typical to fast-food restaurants create a setting where “management would likely want to pass any wage gains secured by the union onto the customers in the form of higher prices,” a 2020 report by the Harvard Law School project Clean Slate for Worker Power found. That situation “is modestly, but not fundamentally, improved if collective bargaining were to take place between unions and complete fast food chains,” the study added.
Currently, the minimum wage in California is $15 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14 an hour for employers with 25 or less employees. Even so, according to the Department of Labor, that minimum wage is currently among the highest in the nation, along with states like New York, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
EDITORS NOTE: Fast food employees should never earn more than around $7.50 and $15 is way too high for people who often can’t count up to SIX chicken nuggets and constantly get your order wrong. Minimum wage demands treat the minimum wage like a handout for people who don’t want to better their lives and would rather beg for high wages for jobs that require no skills.