Home>Articles>Restaurants File for Referendum to Stop California’s New Fast Food Worker Law

Mill Valley, CA: Workers at In-N-Out location behind counter take orders. (Photo: David Tran Photo, Shutterstock)

Restaurants File for Referendum to Stop California’s New Fast Food Worker Law

‘As a result of backroom politicking, Governor Newsom has signed a lie into law’

By Evan Symon, September 8, 2022 2:16 am

A coalition of restaurant owners began the first steps toward blocking the recently signed AB 257 law on Wednesday, California’s new fast food worker law, by filing a referendum request with the California Attorney General.

The AB 257 law, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Los Angeles), will create a Fast Food Council of 10 members comprised of worker’s delegates, employer’s representatives and state officials and would set minimum wages, working conditions, and set hours for fast food employees in the state. Many proponents have zeroed in on the notion that wages could rise to as high as $22 an hour under the law.

However, many restaurant and franchise groups greatly opposed AB 257, noting that restaurants would be hit unfairly hard by the bill, with many being more likely to close due to the industry still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic troubles, as well as increased prices due to supply chain delays and an industry-wide worker shortage.

The coalition of restaurants, known as the Protect Neighborhood Restaurants, saw AB 257 as the straw that would break the camels back and moved on Wednesday. Should the referendum request be accepted, it could lead to at least a temporary delay of AB 257. If then enough signatures are received by the signature gathering deadline, the bill would be further delayed from coming into effect until the election, which would likely be in November 2024. Officially, opponents of AB 257 will need to get more than 600,000 signatures, or roughly 5% of the total votes cast for Governor in the 2018 election.

On Wednesday, the coalition, which is supported by the International Franchise Association, the National Restaurant Association, and numerous other small businesses and organizations, spoke out against the bill during their referendum announcement.

“The law will raise consumer costs, isn’t needed, and will create a fractured economy with different regulations for different types of restaurants,” Protect Neighborhood Restaurants said. “As a result of backroom politicking, Governor Newsom has signed a lie into law and maligned all of California’s quick service small businesses and local franchisees as bad employers.”

Other restaurant owners also praised the referendum action, including LA restaurant owner Miguel Hernandez Jr.

“They keep squeezing us and squeezing us,” said Hernandez to the Globe on Wednesday. “We have to stand up and say that this isn’t right. It’s going to really be hard to work out wages and and everything when there are no more restaurants left to do that against.”

Supporters of the new law were surprised at the coalitions actions on Wednesday, saying that the industry is trying to block the workers out of something they had just won.

“It is saddening that the industry is looking for a way out of providing a seat at the table amongst all stakeholders,” noted Assemblyman Holden. “The workers make the multi-billion fast food industry possible and giving equal representation of employees and employers is the recipe for sustainable, long-term growth in an inclusive manner.”

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California President David Huerta added that “Restaurant chains are attempting to overthrow cooks and cashiers’ historic victory. Instead of pouring money to suppress the voices of Black and Latino cooks and cashiers, fast-food corporations should sit down and listen to them.”

An announcement of if the petition is accepted is due soon.

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12 thoughts on “Restaurants File for Referendum to Stop California’s New Fast Food Worker Law

  1. It’s high time that more people and organizations get involved and hold these legislators to account for their activities, which usually smack of corruption or some form of quid pro quo or insider dealing….
    This also applies to the activities of those aligned with the World Economic Forum (like Governor Newsom) and the “Young Global Leaders” (Newsom, Turdeau, Merkel, Ahern, et al) and their dystopian technocracy that they envision to control and enslave the population at large…
    What was once conspiracy theory is rapidly manifesting as truth…

  2. Sad day when owners and operators have to take time from their busy day to fight off the shills of the unions and gather 600,000 plus signatures that will be verified by a union sympathizing Secretary of State!
    Please note the defenders response with words of EQUAL and of course typically use the race card!
    Where do I sign?

  3. “It is saddening that the industry is looking for a way out of providing a seat at the table amongst all stakeholders,” noted Assemblyman Holden. “The workers make the multi-billion fast food industry possible and giving equal representation of employees and employers is the recipe for sustainable, long-term growth in an inclusive manner.”
    Spoken like a true communist. Tell us, how does this play out when the workers are replaced by robots? And actually, the communists never get this, its the COSTUMERS that make any industry possible. None exists if there isn’t someone willing to buy the product. If you make the product too expensive, and no one buys it, the whole industry collapses.
    And look at this incredibly racist comment from the union President:
    “Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California President David Huerta added that “Restaurant chains are attempting to overthrow cooks and cashiers’ historic victory. Instead of pouring money to suppress the voices of Black and Latino cooks and cashiers, fast-food corporations should sit down and listen to them.””
    Really just going to ignore that there are THOUSANDS of people who work in the fast food industry that aren’t black or Latino? (at least he didn’t say ‘Latinx’). This game of trying to play the victim in order to take power is getting tiresome.

  4. Hopefully they can push it to 2024, that will give many people time to book UHAUL out of CA as so many laws coming in 24/25 which will be so impossible to live normally in CA anymore. They are bringing CCP / USSR communism (this ain’t progress nor democracy they preach). Gov’t should not be in private businesses

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