Home>Articles>SEIU Launches New Fast Food Workers Union Weeks Before Start Of New $20 Minimum Wage Law

Local 1000 SEIU Sign. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

SEIU Launches New Fast Food Workers Union Weeks Before Start Of New $20 Minimum Wage Law

‘The venture is a complete fake, a union in name only’

By Evan Symon, February 9, 2024 5:59 pm

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched the new California Fast Food Workers Union on Friday, creating a labor union specifically for fast food workers less than two months before the AB 1228 $20 fast food minimum wage law comes into effect.

Following the signing of AB 1228 in October by Governor Gavin Newsom, the new $20 minimum wage for fast food employees, a massive jump from the $16 minimum wage, has had multiple companies take extreme measures. Some, like Chipotle and McDonalds, have announced already raised prices before the wage raise date of April 1st. Others are investing in automated kiosks and other automated devices to help reduce the number of employees. Some stores outright closed. Most notable, however, has been the massive amount of layoffs. Already, over 1,200 Pizza Hut drivers have had announced lay-offs, with drivers to be replaced by services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats in the coming months. Many other chains are currently also looking into doing the same for deliveries. Seeing signs of massive layoffs ahead, many workers have even transitioned out to other lines of work in anticipation.

Even with fast food companies facing tough times ahead in California in 2024, the SEIU continued their push for unionization on Friday by creating a union solely for fast food workers. This union, the California Fast Food Workers Union, was hailed as the first of its kind on Friday.

“Led by Black and Latino cooks and cashiers, the California Fast Food Workers Union is setting a shining example of what is possible when workers step into their power,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in a statement on Friday. “Today marks a major step forward for California fast-food workers and working people everywhere.”

In an eerily similar statement, SEIU international executive vice-president Joseph Bryant added, “These efforts have been led in California over the last decade by primarily Black and Latino cooks and cashiers who have been fighting and have been able to show when they come together what kind of power they can have to really take on massive corporations like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King, which have done everything to crush their workers and crush the idea of them pulling together a union.”

However, the new union may prove to be short lived. They currently have no bargaining power, and many experts are predicting that few will actually join, as dues would likely be high, and many would be unable to afford them on minimum wage.

“The venture is a complete fake, a union in name only,” said Employment Policies Institute executive director Michael Saltsman. “It has no self-sustaining funding source, and no employer is obligated to bargain with it. Moreover, it has no apparent power beyond collecting feedback from the union’s existing supporters.”

“Yeah, they’re all cheering now,” Fast food consultant Amanda Hernandez added. “But this union can’t bargain. They can’t fight for the worker. They are pretty much dependent on the SEIU. This is really just showing off by the SEIU that they want to cover fast food workers more and more. They know a storm is coming with employers looking to get rid of or replace as many as possible. They’re seeing firings already, and they see the new minimum wage already starting to weaken considerably through all these exemption bills.”

“They made a job that was designed to be a part-time job for adults looking to make some extra money, teenagers getting their feet wet in real world work, and older adults looking for supplemental income to retirement to something now akin to a full-time job. We’ll be seeing a lot of workers go under the 30 hour mark to cut back on benefits too soon.”

“They got a union. One with little power, but they got it. But they’re losing so much because of this minimum wage. Reality is going to hit them very, very hard soon.”

The $20 minimum wage for fast food workers is set to begin on April 1st.

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9 thoughts on “SEIU Launches New Fast Food Workers Union Weeks Before Start Of New $20 Minimum Wage Law

  1. Democrat politicians and their union boss cronies have once again hurt low wage workers whom they pretend to be helping.

  2. “Led by Black and Latino cooks and cashiers, the California Fast Food Workers Union is setting a shining example of what is possible when workers step into their power,”

    That’s complete BS.

  3. Union run “fast food” won’t last as most will be out of business within days. Imagine $30 Sad Meals served 1 hour late and cold with a giant side of big fat attitude.

  4. Great. Any employee foolish enough to join this union, one that has absolutely no leverage, only for that worker to discover he is now in the red, losing all “wage increases,” what with one thing and another, you don’t want slapping together a hamburger for you in the first place. And that assumes the worker would still even have a job or any kind of buying power in the face of mass firings, replacement of employees with kiosks and robots, store closures, even collapses of entire chain restaurants, payment of dues to the “union,” and exponential cost increases that — don’t forget — affect the employee, too, in addition to the general burdensome muck of our apparently-now-permanent inflationary era (thanks, Dem/Marxists). Bonus points for being a slave to the union, whom the worker must now pay or else, and do their bidding whether the “union gifts” are good and agreeable or not.
    Customers, most of them just looking for cheap food to fill up themselves and their families, quick, or a bite on the road, quick, will soon discover it’s not cheap at all, is only becoming more expensive by the minute, and will abandon the fast food outlet by necessity or maybe go twice a year, if the place still exists in six months, that is. Then there will be the “principled” customers who say “why the heck would I directly pay the SEIU —- whose commie members are destroying my state —- or its fake offshoot fast food workers’ union by buying an overpriced MacDonald’s cheeseburger?”
    The list of negatives from all of this is actually endless. Hope the fake union DOES collapse soon. We’ll see. Also hope that workers gain a valuable lesson learned, if nothing else, from being had.
    Nice work, Asm Chris Holden & Co., you’ve really created a burning train wreck now from your AB 1228, ironically also the result of your precious union donors telling you what you must do… or else. Happy?

    1. Good comment, my experience with unions (at UC Davis) encompasses SEIU and AFSCME, and others I “had” to pay and participate in.
      So jumping in and “helping”, I realized the employers have many more lawyers, and only union members may be representing the employees.
      Unless a retired lawyer becomes a negotiator, there is a mismatch in expertise.
      Then the employer “promotes” that employee to “supervisor”, removing that obstacle to fair bargaining, no longer representing employees.
      There is more to this and the article does not even touch the many ways employers manipulate the system the government sets up.. duh

      1. Interesting, Miwok. Thanks so much for your reply and for the hands-on, first-person information in your comment. So valuable.

  5. Curious how SEIU will unionize Robotic machines – I figure EVERY effort will be made to bring them sooner into production. Kiosks to take order and robots to fill it.

    Workers – here is your $20/hr pink slip enjoy EDD
    Politicians and unions are NOT your friends

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