California Passes Landmark Bill; Gives Voice to More Than Half Million Fast-food Workers
In historic victory for working people, a first-of-its-kind bill will guarantee workers a seat at table to help set wage, health, safety, and training standards across the fast-food industry
The California State Senate passed AB 257, the FAST Recovery Act, on August 29, 2022, marking an historic victory in fast-food workers’ decade-long fight for fair pay and a voice on the job. AB 257 would protect and empower California’s fast-food workforce, which is majority Black and Latino, with a voice on the job to help set minimum industry standards around wages, safety and training.
The measure, passed by a vote of 21 to 12, now requires the approval of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has not indicated whether he will sign it. The bill was vehemently opposed by the fast-food industry.
AB 257 will empower workers to develop solutions to long-standing issues in the fast-food industry by giving workers a seat at the table through the creation of a statewide Fast-Food Council. This council, which would include worker, government and industry representatives, would help set minimum standards across the California fast-food industry that strengthen health and safety protections, shield workers from retaliation, and ensure workplaces are free from discrimination and harassment.
Under the FAST Recovery Act, franchisees get a seat at the table as well. Oftentimes, large franchisors increase California operators’ costs or ignore their most pressing needs. With AB 257, franchisees can leverage the Fast-Food Council to ensure their stores are safe, healthy and compliant.
The bill gives fast-food cooks and cashiers the power to raise the industry-wide minimum wage to up to $22/hr. Similar to the state minimum wage, the industry minimum wage would adjust annually based on the Consumer Price Index.
The bill allows cities and counties to establish a Local Fast-Food Council, giving voice to workers and employers in every region of the state and bringing them together to develop specific solutions to issues in their communities.