California voters will decide next year Referendum It could overturn a major new state law that would set working conditions and a minimum wage of up to $22 an hour for fast-food workers in the nation’s largest state.
Chipotle, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, In-N-Out Burger and KFC-owner Yum! Each of the brands Donated $1 million to save local restaurants, a alliance against the law. Other leading fast food companies, trade groups, franchise owners and many smaller restaurants also criticized the legislation and spent millions of dollars opposing it.
A measure called the FAST Act Signed last year by California Governor Gavin Newsom and is set to take effect on January 1. On Tuesday, California’s Secretary of State announced that a petition to suspend the law had collected enough signatures to put it on the 2024 general election ballot.
The closely watched initiative could transform the fast-food industry in California and serve as a bellwether for similar policies in other parts of the country, supporters and critics of the measure argued.
The act was the first of its kind in the United States and authorized the creation of a 10-member Fast Food Council composed of labor, employer and government representatives to oversee standards for workers in the state’s fast food industry.
The council has the authority to set industry-wide minimum standards for wages, health and safety protections, time policies and worker redress remedies at more than 100 fast-food restaurants nationwide.
The council could raise the fast-food industry’s minimum wage to $22 an hour, compared to $15.50 in other states. From there, that minimum will rise annually based on inflation.
California’s fast food industry employs more than 550,000 people. About 80% are people of color and about 65% are women, according to the Service Employees International Union, which advocated for law and order. Fight for the $15 movement.
Advocates of the legislation, including unions and labor groups, see it as a breakthrough model for improving wages and conditions for fast-food workers and overcoming barriers to unionizing workers in the industry. They argue that California’s success could lead other labor-friendly cities and states to adopt similar councils to regulate fast food and other service industries. Less than 4% of restaurant workers nationwide are unionized.
Labor law in the United States is structured around unions that organize and bargain in an individual shop or plant. It is almost impossible to organize workers in fast food and retail chains with thousands of stores.
California’s law would bring the state closer to sectoral bargaining, a form of collective bargaining where workers and employers negotiate wages and standards across an entire industry.
Opponents of the law say it’s a radical move that could have harmful consequences. They argue that it unfairly targets the fast-food industry, raising prices and forcing businesses to lay off workers. Analysis by economists at UC Riverside If restaurant workers’ wages increase by 20%, restaurant prices will increase by approximately 7%. The study also found that if restaurant workers’ wages increased by 60%, prices at limited-service restaurants would increase by 22%.
“This legislation creates a food tax on consumers, kills jobs and pushes restaurants out of local communities,” said the Save Local Restaurant Coalition.
On Wednesday, McDonald’s US President Joe Erlinger Destroyed The legislation, driven by struggling unions, would lead to “an unelected council of political insiders, not local business owners and their teams,” making major business decisions.
Opponents have turned to a similar strategy used by companies like Uber, Lyft and Kik 2020 California Law It would reclassify drivers as employees rather than “independent contractors,” giving them benefits such as minimum wage, overtime and paid sick leave.
In 2020, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and others spent more than $200 million to successfully lobby California voters. Pass Proposition 22A ballot measure exempted companies from reclassifying their workers as employees.