California Governor signs landmark law for fast food workers | Economic news

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday signed a landmark national measure giving more than half a million fast-food workers more power and protections, despite the objections from restaurant owners who warned it would drive up consumers. costs.

The landmark law creates a 10-member fast food council with an equal number of worker delegates and employer representatives, plus two state officials, empowered to set minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions in California.

Newsom said he was proud to sign the measure into law on Labor Day.

“California is committed to ensuring that the men and women who have helped build our world-class economy are able to share in the state’s prosperity,” he said in a statement. “Today’s action gives fast food workers a stronger voice and a seat at the table to establish fair wages and essential health and safety standards across the industry.”

The law caps minimum wage increases for fast-food workers at chains of more than 100 restaurants at $22 an hour next year, up from the minimum of $15.50 an hour across the board. the state, with the cost of living rising thereafter.

The state legislature approved the measure on Aug. 29. The debate split along party lines, with Republicans opposing it.

Senator Brian Dahle, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in November, called it “a springboard to organize all these workers.”

Supporters had said they hoped the measure would inspire similar efforts elsewhere.

The author of the measure, Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, said it would be “a new way to ensure marginalized workers have a voice in the workplace.”

Restaurant owners and franchisors opposed the law, citing an analysis they commissioned from the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecast and Development, saying the legislation would increase costs for consumers.

The International Franchise Association called it “a fork in the eyes” of people who operate restaurant franchises and said it could raise consumer prices by up to 20%.

“This bill was built on a lie, and now small business owners, their employees, and their customers will have to pay the price,” IFA President and CEO Matthew Haller said in a statement. a statement. “Franchises already pay higher salaries and offer more opportunity for advancement than their independent counterparts, and this bill unfairly targets one of the greatest models for realizing the American Dream and the millions of people it supports. »

However, Holden urged opponents to give the law a chance.

“Speaking as a former franchisee, I would have welcomed this inclusive process, which actually benefits not only the worker but also the franchisee,” he said in a statement.

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