New fast food worker law that allows up to $22 minimum wage receiving pushback

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New fast food worker law that allows up to $22 minimum wage receiving pushback
Photo credit: Canva

STATEWIDE – Save Local Restaurants, a coalition of California small business owners, employees, consumers and community-based organizations, is pushing back against the Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act. The new state law set to take effect, Jan. 1 2023, will allow a council to set a minimum wage up to $22 for fast food workers. 

In addition to higher wages, the Fast Food Council will also establish conditions related to health and safety, security in the workplace, the right to take time off from work for protected purposes and protection from discrimination and harassment.

“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,” said Governor Newsom on Labor Day when the legislation was signed into law. “Today’s action gives hard working fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table to set fair wages and critical health and safety standards across the industry.” 

The law will apply to “any set of restaurants consisting of 100 or more establishments nationally that share a common brand, or that are characterized by standardized options for decor, marketing, packaging, products, and services.” This means that a mom-and-pop franchise owner with a single restaurant will be subject to the same standards regarding minimum wages and working conditions that are being imposed on employers that own 100+ restaurants.

Opponents of the law feel that it will make the cost-of-living crisis in California even worse for the 70% of residents who visit a fast food restaurant each week.

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“The measure would establish an unelected council to control labor policy in the counter-service restaurant industry, cause food prices to increase by as much as 20% during a period of decades-high inflation, and harm thousands of small family-, minority-, and women-owned businesses across the state,” says a recent Save Local Restaurants statement.

According to their site, the coalition collected over one million signatures to oppose the FAST Act, and made the Dec. 5th deadline to submit their petition. Once the minimum required signatures are verified, the law will be temporarily halted and placed on the November 2024 ballot for voters to have their say.

In-N-Out Burgers, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Starbucks are major funders for the Save Local Restaurants coalition. 

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