Home>Articles>California Lawmakers Vote for Union to Set Wages and Hours in Fast-Food Restaurants

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

California Lawmakers Vote for Union to Set Wages and Hours in Fast-Food Restaurants

California ranks at the bottom of the Best & Worst States for Business survey again

By Katy Grimes, August 17, 2022 8:06 am

California is bleeding businesses to lower tax, lower regulatory, more business-friendly states. Yet the SEIU is pushing a bill to create a “fast food council” responsible for setting wages, working hours and other health and safety standards for the entire industry. Assembly Bill 257 by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Los Angeles), just passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.

To gin up the SEIU latest union-member recruitment, fast food workers will be protesting wages, hours and safety at the State Capitol today. SEIU created “Fast Food Justice Hora” 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 creates a statewide Fast-Food Sector 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.

This is where it appears AB 257 actually appears to be targeting the corporate parent companies: AB 257 “requires fast-food giants to ensure all their restaurants have the necessary resources to operate safely.”

The California Restaurant Association clearly opposes AB 257:

“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.”

According to Senate bill analysis:

  • The fast-food council will “promulgate minimum fast food restaurant employment standards on wages, working conditions and training that are necessary or appropriate to protect and ensure the welfare, well-being and security of fast food restaurant workers.”
  • Appoints the Secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency chairperson of the council.
  • Authorizes a county or city with a population greater than 200,000 to establish a Local Fast Food Sector Council, as specified, to provide direction to, and coordinate with, local agencies regarding the fast food sector work conditions within the applicable local jurisdiction, and shall periodically hold public hearings and provide the state Council with written recommendations.
  • Authorizes the franchisee to file an action against its franchisor for monetary or injunctive relief necessary to ensure compliance over the cost of compliance with employment and health and safety laws.

Here’s where it becomes particularly alarming for franchisees and their corporate owners:

  • Prohibits a fast food restaurant operator from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against any employee for any of the following:
    • Making a workplace safety or health complaint or disclosing information.
    • Testifying or participating in a proceeding relating to employee or public health or safety, or any state or local Fast Food Council proceeding.
    • Refusing to perform work the employee had reasonable cause to believe would violate employment, public health and safety laws or would pose a substantial risk to the health or safety of the employee, other employees, or the public.
  • Grants a cause of action to any worker discharged, discriminated or retaliated against for exercising their rights, creates a rebuttable presumption of unlawful discrimination or retaliation for any adverse action taken against the worker within 90 days of the franchisor or franchisee having knowledge of the worker exercising their rights and allows the Labor Commissioner to enforce violations without receiving a complaint.

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

  • Staff estimates that this bill would result in special funds costs in the millions of dollars, likely reaching the tens of millions of dollars, on an annual basis across multiple units within the DIR.
  • Additionally, this bill could result in cost pressures to the courts. Specifically, the bill would authorize a cause of action for any employee of a fast food restaurant who is discharged, discriminated or retaliated against for exercising rights established by the bill.

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 again Texas and Florida held on to their No. 1 and No. 2 spots this year, continuing their long-running lock on the top of the rankings.

With Gov. Newsom crowing across the country about California’s abortion rights, economy and business climate, while targeting red state governors with his vainglorious ads, how did California do in the Best & Worst States for Business survey?

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.”

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19 thoughts on “California Lawmakers Vote for Union to Set Wages and Hours in Fast-Food Restaurants

  1. The SEIU has been so draining and downright destructive to the State of California that I’ve developed an aversion to the “royal purple” color of their stupid proudly-worn T-shirts. The power-mad SEIU kingpins, who are the only ones who stand to benefit financially and power-wise from their antics, are nakedly going for full communism here. (E.g., micromanagement of employee firings, wages, hours, and the like? Yeah, that will work out well in fast-food restaurants! LOL) The rank-and-file SEIU members —- at least the ones who wear those stupid SEIU T-shirts —- are apparently automatons who no longer know WHAT their interests are. They allow themselves to be loaded up on buses and protest in Sacramento, or (in this case) for the local news cameras in front of fast-food restaurants, and they look and sound like zombies when questioned by a local reporter.

    As for Asm Chris Holden, I understand he owns or part-owns a fast food restaurant. So is this virtue-signaling at its finest, or is the authorship of this bill an admission that he relies very much on the SIEU to keep his position of power as a CA Assemblyman? And perhaps gets more campaign dough from the unions than he could ever hope to haul in from his restaurant, especially under the beaten-down conditions for which he is partially responsible?

    1. Wrote a pointed note to my state senator. For what it’s worth. I’m probably only amusing myself at this point. Find yours below and contact they/them 🙂 if you are so inclined. AB 257 is on the floor of the Senate now, awaiting the final vote.

    2. It means his competition won’t be able to compete with him, and will shutter. Never underestimate the power of rich people who desire to get richer.

  2. This is the epitome of a job killing bill. Fast Food chains will pack up and leave CA in droves and will put many 10’s of thousands of people out of work. But apparently this is what my fellow Californians want as they continue to vote in over and over again the same knuckleheads who pass this nonsense

    1. But we DON’T vote them in – the Dominion Voting Systems vote-switching features enable corrupt election officials to SWITCH OUR VOTES during the DVS “adjudication” process… you know, to “determine the will of the voter”….
      All of these security exploits are fully disclosed and explained away in a PDF that is STILL UP on the California Secretary of State website….
      Texas had it right when they told DVS to go pound sand….

  3. GEEEEZ, people….

    Thanks to your Democrat Party’s FAILED economic policies AND California’s INSANE minimum wage laws, the cost of a “fast food meal” has increased to the point of being basically unaffordable NOW…

    You (SEIU, yes YOU) are SLITTING YOUR OWN ECONOMIC THROAT and people will STOP USING your services as the cost of living and fuel and groceries and mortgages and insurance and…. are GETTING out of the reach of most people…

    Once again, their “well-intentioned but ultimately misguided” legislation will cause exactly the OPPOSITE result of what they say they want…. wake up, union minions – you’re being SCREWED out of your livelihood by these “union bosses”….

  4. Someone on Nextdoor, was complaining that she could not order inside a fast-food restaurant and had to use a Kiosk or the drive-thru. When they perfect automated cooks you will stop seeing the ‘we are hiring’ signs and minimum wage will no longer be a problem because there will be no wages. Then you will see ‘universal minimum income’ sent by the government that will only meet a standard of living for a third world country. And then you will see an intended unprecedented crime wave like none seen before. California is producing the pathway to totalitarianism for the entire nation. look who the dems want to run in 2024, gruesome newsom.

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