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California fast-food workers could get $22/hr.

A new bill could form a fast-food council to oversee wages and conditions in California.

California’s minimum wage is $15.50/hr., but a new bill could score some fast-food employees up to $22/hr.

The Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act has passed both the state Assembly and Senate, but Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign it, per The New York Times.

What would it do?

  • Create a 10-person fast-food council with employee and restaurant reps, plus state officials.
  • The council would set industry-wide standards, including wages, working hours, and conditions.
  • Only fast-food chains with at least 100 US locations would be affected.

Proponents hope the council would give fast-food employees — who often deal with wage theft, harassment, and safety issues — a voice.

But it’s controversial

Several business groups and restaurant owners, including the California Chamber of Commerce and both the National and California Restaurant Association, are against it. They argue:

  • It’d raise food prices as much as 20%.
  • It might deter franchisees from operating in California.

Groups representing Black, Asian, and LGBTQ+ businesses also worry it could harm minority groups who rely on franchises as a path to entrepreneurship.

Interestingly, if approved, the council would be similar to sectoral bargaining, where workers and employers negotiate across an industry. It’s common in Europe, but not the US.

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