The Fast-Food Industry To Sideline Pro-Worker Law

Herbie J Pilato

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[el.observador.com]

[This article is based on entertainment postings and accredited media reports attributed to CNN.com, and The Los Angeles Times.]

According to a recent report by CNN.com, "In a move the restaurant industry warns could raise fast-food prices, California’s governor signed into law a bill creating a “Fast Food Council” to determine standards for pay, hours, and working conditions for the state’s fast food workers. Under the legislation, the council could raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to up to $22 an hour — well above the $15 an hour in the state for employers with more than 26 workers. The new standards apply to chains with at least 100 locations nationally."

“Today’s action gives hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table to set fair wages and critical health and safety standards across the industry, “said Governor Gavin Newsom, who is also a restaurant owner. He was "proud to sign this legislation" on this past Labor Day, "when we pay tribute to the workers who keep our state running as we build a stronger, more inclusive economy for all Californians.”

But according to The Los Angeles Times, the fast-food industry is ready to fork out millions of dollars to destroy the pro-worker law.

As journalist Michael Hiltzik wrote in The Los Angeles Times, on September 24, 2022, "Political PR and advertising firms in California are going to owe Gov. Gavin Newsom a huge favor. That's because by signing the so-called Fast Recovery Act on Sept. 5, he opened the door to what could be hundreds of millions of dollars in spending by fast-food companies to kill it."

"The act — formally the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, or AB 257," Hiltzik went on to report, "creates an appointed council that could set wage and other workplace conditions for fast-food workers. The council would be empowered to set a minimum wage as high as $22 an hour in 2023, though there is reason to doubt that wages would hit that ceiling."

Or as Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union president, was quoted in the Times, "Fast-food corporations are looking to buy their way out of a law intended to lift pay for their workers, ensure their stores are safe and healthy, and improve the industry for everybody."

According to The Los Angeles Times, the state minimum wage, currently $15 an hour for employers of 26 workers or more, and $14 for smaller businesses, will rise to $15.50 for all on Jan. 1.

Hiltzik wrote, "The restaurant industry has already taken steps to place the law before voters through a ballot measure. If the industry can collect about 623,000 valid voter signatures by the first week of December, the referendum would go on the November 2024 ballot and the law would be suspended until then. If the referendum qualifies, voters can expect McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and their ilk to spend gigantic sums to overturn the law."

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS: A TREASURE HOUSE OF DECEMBER MEMORIES REVEALED, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA
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