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Fast Food Workers and Labor Unions Reach Compromise With Corporations

Pending Legislation and Mediation Team Pushed Agreement Through

By Keemia Zhang

Labor unions and fast-food corporations have reached a compromise on statewide workforce regulations, set to last until 2029. 500,000 Californians in fast food will earn at least $20 an hour by 2024, a significant increase in the current state minimum wage of $15.50 an hour. However, restaurants exempted from the rule include establishments that make or sell their own bread, such as Panera Bread. This agreement on the workforce regulator would last until 2029.

The agreement will prevent local lawmakers from raising the minimum wage ceiling any higher as well as from considering other issues such as paid leave and predictable work hours. Corporations would no longer be held responsible for any workforce violations that would take place under individual franchised locations, described by POLITICO as a “major sticking point” in the debate.

SEIU California President David Huerta stated that AB 1228 “clears the path for fast food workers to start making much-needed improvements to the policies that affect their own workplaces and their lives.” IFAP CEO Matt Haller remarked that it protects franchises while putting off “significant — and potentially existential — threats, costs, and regulatory burdens targeting local restaurants in California.”

The move follows substantial efforts for and against labor measures, including demonstrative protests and walkouts staged by fast food workers and a $50 million campaign on a referendum to challenge industry regulator laws. The bill is set to be proposed to the state legislature and subsequently signed into law by the Governor, whose office substantially assisted in the mediation process.

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