California Fast-Food Workers Celebrate Landmark Wage Increase to $20 an Hour

California just passed Assembly Bill 1228, increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour and establishing a Fast Food Council to oversee working conditions and annual wage adjustments. 

New Legislation

California has just passed new legislation increasing the minimum wage for fast-food workers from the previous $16 an hour to $20 an hour.

Even though the previous minimum wage was $16 dollars per hour, in 2022, the average fast-food worker only made $16.21 per hour, highlighting how crucial the minimum wage is when setting the wage standard for fast-food workers.

This new legislation is Assembly Bill 1228, and once it becomes effective, it will benefit approximately 500,000 fast-food workers in California.

Governor Newsom

After the bill was passed, California Governor Gavin Newsom quickly called the situation a major victory in giving workers a “stronger voice” when they sought to address their own working conditions.

Governor Newsom said, “California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food workers who – for decades – have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions.” Newsom then went on to say, “Today, we take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions, and better training by giving hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table.”

Alongside the wage increase, the legislation will establish a Fast Food Council with the Department of Industrial Relations to better monitor the working conditions at fast-food establishments.

The Fast Food Council will determine the standards surrounding fast-food workers’ minimum wage and develop proposals that improve working conditions, such as health, safety standards, and training.

Adjusting Annually

The council will also be authorized to adjust the fast-food minimum wage each year, but the increase will be capped at 3.5% or the annual increase in the US Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (US-CPI).

The council’s authority over fast-food working conditions will expire on January 1, 2029, to ensure that standards for workers are periodically reviewed and adjusted over the next five years.

Time to Get to Work

California Fast Food Worker and Leader in the Fight for $15, Ingrid Vilorio, called the establishment of the Fast Food Council a major victory for workers, but she said it was simply the first step in a longer journey toward workers’ having a say in their treatment at large chains.

Vilirio said, “It’s time to get to work so we can bring real solutions shaped by real workers to the Fast Food Council. Today’s victory is just the beginning… From day one of our movement, we have demanded a seat at the table so we could improve our pay and working conditions.

“Vilirio concluded his statement, “We now have the power to win transformational changes for every fast-food cook, cashier, and barista in our state. We hope that what we win here shows workers in other industries and other states that when we fight, we win!”

Creating a Framework

Assembly Bill 1228 replaces previous statutes and creates a comprehensive framework for developing employment standards in the fast-food industry by monitoring wages, working conditions, and training. The increased minimum wage is scheduled to begin on April 1st, and the hope is that it will improve the living standards of fast-food workers across the state.

The president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), David Huerta, also made a statement after the bill passed highlighting how big an impact it would have on families in the state and Newsom’s role in passing the bill.

Huerta said, “After ten years of vibrant and courageous activism, which included raising the minimum wage for all workers in the state and bringing billions of dollars into working families’ pockets, fast food workers have now achieved something historic.”

Huerta then praised Newsom by saying, “We extend our deepest gratitude to the Governor for his leadership in fighting poverty, empowering workers, and moving us toward a more just and equitable society.” However, the wage increase will only apply to employees at “national fast food chains” with more than 60 establishments nationwide, offering “limited service” and standardized marketing.

The post California Fast-Food Workers Celebrate Landmark Wage Increase to $20 an Hour first appeared on Swift Feed.

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