The new law, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Thursday, has some distinctive features, such as the exclusion of companies that manufacture and sell bread products (including argue some, tortillas) on the premises or have less than 60 locations nationwide.
Observers see it as a political ploy to avoid a statewide vote on a wage increase that Democrats felt would likely fail. It resolves a dispute between the fast food industry and labor unions and companies in the sector. Because of the new law, labor unions will no longer attempt to hold fast food companies accountable for any misconduct committed by their independent franchise owners in California in exchange for higher compensation.
The bill, AB 1228 also enables the Fast Food Council to set the minimum pay for fast-food establishments and make recommendations for rules regarding other issues like health and safety requirements and training.
California now has the highest guaranteed base compensation in the fast-food industry thanks to the 25% wage increase.
In California, fast-food employees made an average hourly wage of $16.21 in 2022. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they currently make an average wage of $16.60 per hour, or little over $34,000 per year.
With a minimum salary of $15.50 an hour for all other non-fast food employees, California already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation.
“California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food employees who, for years, have fought for improved pay and working conditions,” said Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement on Thursday.
“Today, by giving dedicated fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table, we take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions, and better training.”
Politicians in California are now concentrating on other industries, and a law to gradually raise the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 per hour was recently enacted.
–Metro Voice and wire services