Business

This California bill aims to empower fast food workers in an industry known to have few protections

California’s fast food workers may enjoy better working conditions under a state Senate bill that passed on Tuesday.

If Governor Gavin Newsom signs the bill into law, it will create a huge change in the industry known for a number of worker protections, High turnover and low salary.

The focus of the Fast Food Standards and Accountability Restoration Act, or FAST . Restoration Act, is the creation of a “Fast Food Council” that will set an industry-wide minimum wage as well as standards for working hours and related health and safety conditions. The group will consist of 10 state-appointed members.

One representative will be from the state Department of Industrial Relations, two from fast food companies and two from individual franchisees. Two more will represent fast food workers, and two more will be “advocates” for workers in the fast food sector. The final representation will come from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

“For years, the fast food sector has been rife with abuse, low pay, few benefits, and low job security, with a high rate of California workers experiencing employment violations,” the bill’s text reads. know.

The bill defines a fast food company as those with 100 or more locations operating under a common brand. Now, some companies have criticized that definition and the bill as a whole, saying it would negatively impact franchise owners and could result in costs passed on to consumers. This week, McDonald’s America President Joe Erlinger call it “lack of consideration.”

Last week, the American Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business lobbying group, issue a statement opposing the bill. “The proposal would impose general and some liability on franchisors for alleged violations by their franchisees,” the group wrote. “And franchisors need to have a much more direct role in running individual locations that are separately owned and operated by franchisees.”

Supporters, however, say the bill would expand a level of job security for fast-food workers that they never had before. It would provide protections to workers who have been fired or retaliated against by their employers for speaking out about their working conditions, for example. If such actions occur, the measure affirms workers’ right to have their jobs reinstated.

Those protections are what labor unions typically provide to their members. However, food service is one of the least unionized sectors in the US, with only 3.1% of workers represented by unions. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bill has been lauded by workers’ rights groups, unions and progressive policy groups since it was first proposed last year.

“This proposed legislation has important implications for workers across the country and shapes the future of our national economy,” said one. coalition of 40 organizations in a letter earlier this year. Among the groups that signed the letter were the National Women’s Law Center, the nonprofit A Fair Wage, and the public policy research organization, the Center for American Progress.

Newsom has until September 30 to sign the bill into law.

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