California fast-food workers may soon earn $20 per hour as local unions and restaurants came to a tentative agreement.
A new California bill will reflect the wage increase, while at the same time eliminating Assembly Bill 257, which would have asked Californians to vote on a $22 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers on the November 2024 ballot.
The negotiations and agreements were made by representatives within the the Save Local Restaurants group, which is made up of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association (IFA).
“Fast food workers are on the cusp of winning a seat at the table + $20/hr,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said Monday. “This is what it looks like when workers rise up and demand elected leaders stand with them to unrig the rules and hold corporations accountable. I’m honored to be in this fight.”
The previous bill was approved by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and would have affected fast-food chains with 100 or more locations nationwide. As agreed upon, the new wage increase would affect fast-food restaurants with 60 or more locations.
As part of the agreement, a council of nine will be responsible for negotiations relating to future wage increases, as well as working hours and working conditions from 2025, until 2029.
“This agreement is in the best interest of workers, local franchise restaurant owners, and brands and protects the franchise business model that has provided opportunities for thousands of Californians to become small business owners,” Matt Haller, president and CEO of the IFA, said in a statement. “It provides meaningful wage increases for workers, while at the same time eliminates more significant – and potentially existential – threats, costs, and regulatory burdens targeting local restaurants in California.”
The wage increase would affect more than 500,000 employees throughout the state of California, starting in April 2024.
Like AB-257, the new bill must be passed by the state assembly and signed by Gov. Newsom.
California’s statewide minimum wage is one of the highest in the country at $15.50 per hour, with the federal minimum being $7.25 per hour.
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