Home>Articles>CA Legislature Passes Bill to Unionize Fast Food Workers

Take out restaurant workers scramble to complete the order. (Photo: James Kirkikis, Shutterstock)

CA Legislature Passes Bill to Unionize Fast Food Workers

Get ready for more expensive, ‘slow food’

By Katy Grimes, August 30, 2022 7:04 am

California is gearing up to become the first state in the country to unionize fast food employees by creating a new Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations to set minimum health, safety and employment standards across the California fast food industry, according to the SEIU – even though every business in California operates under health, safety and employment standards set by state and local laws.

To gin up the SEIU’s latest union-member recruitment, fast food workers have been protesting wages, hours and safety at the State Capitol in order to justify unionization under Assembly Bill 257 by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Los Angeles).

SEIU even created “Fast Food Justice Hora” which claims “California’s half a million fast food workers faced an industry rife with wage theft, sexual harassment, discrimination, violence in the workplace and health and safety issues.”

AB 257 expands state government by creating the statewide Fast Food Council comprised of the following 10 members appointed by the Governor, Assembly and Senate:

a) One representative from the Department of Industrial Relations. b) Two representatives of fast food restaurant franchisors.
c) Two representatives of fast food restaurant franchisees.d) Two representatives of fast food restaurant employees.
e) Two representatives of advocates for fast food restaurant employees.
f) One representative from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

As the Globe reported August 17th, the California Restaurant Association opposes AB 257 because AB 257 “requires fast-food giants to ensure all their restaurants have the necessary resources to operate safely”:

“AB 257 does nothing to help hard-working California families struggling with these costs, in fact it would only serve to hit their wallets even harder. also harms tens of thousands of counter service restaurants. It would impose increased employee costs and onerous new workplace rules at a time when many are still struggling to get back on their feet after the devastating impacts of the government mandated COVID closures. Many restaurants are struggling with labor shortages and increased costs for food and supply chain delays – all while trying desperately to stay afloat. We should be helping this vital sector of our state’s economy keep their doors open, not actively pursuing measures that would kick them closed.”

AB 257 passed the Senate on Wednesday in a 21-12 vote. It heads back to the Assembly for a final vote on amendments before heading to the governor.

The Senate Floor Amendments of 8/25/22:

1) revise the composition, duties and authority of the Fast Food Council; 2) strike the franchisor and franchisee joint and several liability provisions of the bill; 3) limit the Fast Food Council’s authority to set standards, as specified; 4) set a $22 cap on the wages the Council can promulgate, adjusted annually for CPI based on the state’s minimum wage law, as specified; 5) increase the applicability to large fast food establishments of 100 or more; 6) add a January 1, 2029 sunset date on these provisions; and 7) specify annual wage adjustments for fast food restaurant employees after January 1, 2029 if the council is no longer operative.

This is another of the many anti-business bills responsible for chasing businesses out of California.

As the Globe has reported, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced in 2020 he was departing California for Austin Texas, and that 10,000 jobs would go with him.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced moved its global headquarters to the Houston, Texas from California.

Oracle announced they already moved their headquarters from Redwood City to Austin, Texas.

Other big businesses already left California: Toyota Motor North America, Kubota Tractor Corp., Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., Charles Schwab, Jamba Juice.

In April 2022, Chief Executive Magazine issued their Best & Worst States for Business survey of CEOs, and once California came in 50th out of all 50 states. Here’s why, according to Chief Executive:

“States at the bottom of the list continued to suffer from reputations for high taxes, regulation and costs of living, with Washington at No. 46, followed by New Jersey, Illinois, New York and California, all unchanged in their rankings from previous years. Despite some of the nation’s top talent pools and education systems, it will take a true revolution in their tax and regulatory structures to gain ground with CEOs—and move up from the basement.”

Is anyone in the California Legislature listening?

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22 thoughts on “CA Legislature Passes Bill to Unionize Fast Food Workers

  1. How many years ago was it that Waste Management gave them a year to fix some issues or they would move, Idiot Steinberg as in the Assembly at the time and said somthing to the effect ” there are plenty of other companies” . People and companies leaving in droves and you cannot park your car downtown or avoid stepping in crap…And they will never learn and the sheep keep returning then to the “bill mill”! I so sincerely wish I was 20 years younger I believed we could turn it around, no not so much, I would be leaving as well!

  2. Wow, these Democrats really know how to get things done! Nobody is going to want to open up a fast food franchise in CA with this BS!

  3. Fast food restaurants will automate….Count on it. Already there are ordering kiosks at Costco and McDonalds. Fewer employees needed.

    1. At least machines don’t spit in your food in order to “get back at Whitey.” I’ll take a machine any day.

  4. Can you imagine paying 10 bucks for a Mc Donalds single patty burger?
    This is where we are at.
    Once upon a time, fast food jobs were entry level for teenagers to learn life lessons and earn their way to a better life.
    Union Fast Food Workers! It is farcical and damaging. Yes your food will come to you slower, if you do not like then take it up with the employee’s union rep. and see how far you get.

    1. Actually, yes I can imagine that since two days ago we were shopping at Vacaville outlet stores and stopped into BJ’s restaurant. I had a “classic burger,” which means nothing fancy. $14.00, on patty (over-cooked), on a greasy bun with wilted lettuce and three pickle slices in it. Never again, and I do mean N-E-V-E-R!

    1. EXACTLY. They’re going full commie now, which is, of course, the whole purpose of the SEIU (which supports, financially and otherwise, the useful-idiot politicians in this state). Unknown whether the politicians are acting from that money interest, or from stupidity, or from craven vote-buying from knowing their constituency only sees what this stuff LOOKS like (helping) and not what it actually does (devastates small business and jobs and private ownership). Whatever the intent, this is the first step of the diabolical ones who DO know, and the result will be scorched-earth communist devastation. Good job, idiot politicians!

  5. Since when does the government dictate how a private business operates? And… since when does the government decide that you are going to be in a union whether you like it or not? (sorry for the un-intentional Newsome reference, tho it fits)

  6. “California’s half a million fast food workers faced an industry rife with wage theft, sexual harassment, discrimination, violence in the workplace and health and safety issues.”

    No one is being forced to work in fast food.

    Honestly, most of these issues are created, caused, and perpetrated by employees resisting management trying to implement strategies to prevent those issues while trying to keep cost low. How will unionizing improve things?

  7. just amazing zero coverage of this or anything the legislature does on the local news.

    I guess these folks figure CA will get 50% of the 5M people Biden has let in.

    The more regulation means the economy does less FOR EVERYONE.

  8. Let’s see: “a living wage” is what they’re after. A new home priced north of half-a-million, “market adjustment” price tack-ons for cars, gas over the top, electric vehicles being shoved, incrementally, down our throats, … those Democrats sure are something. I will always hate my dead mother for dragging me back here to attend to her in hr final years.

  9. The fools believe they are harnessing a new group of voters to keep the corrupt in power. Just another step to lower the standard of living in the once golden, now very tarnished, state of cali-for-nia.

  10. Let me see if I understand this. The State politicians (all Democrats) legislate mandatory union participation of all workers in a certain category, fast food in this case). The union they must join charges dues for representing them. The union then uses some of the money for campaign contributions to those same politicians. Is this even legal?

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