Fast food giants pump millions into ‘Save Local Restaurants’ coalition fighting California wage law

Major restaurant chains have seen California’s new fast food wage law and they want this order cancelled.

The Save Local Restaurants coalition, which opposes the state’s FAST Recovery Act, said Friday it has raised more than $12 million, with Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC owner Yum Brands among the contributors, according to the the wall street journal.

The law could set the fast food minimum wage at $22 an hour next year. In California, the minimum wage is now $15 an hour, with a 50-cent increase planned for next year.

According to the coalition, the law “is expected to raise prices by up to 20% during a period of high inflation for decades and will have cascading effects on local economies.”

The coalition says it is made up of “small business owners, restaurant owners, franchisees, employees, consumers and community organizations.”

The legislation applies to fast food restaurants with more than 100 locations nationwide. Companies are prohibited from retaliating against workers who complain.

Opponents of the law hope to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to suspend the legislation next year and let voters decide in a referendum whether to block it altogether thereafter.

Otherwise, the legislation, signed into law on Labor Day by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will go into effect Jan. 1, with a 10-person council working to set a minimum wage for fast-food workers, with adjustments as needed. function of inflation.

The FAST Recovery Act states: “The purpose of the council would be to establish minimum industry-wide standards for wages, hours of work and other working conditions relating to health, safety and welfare. -be of, and provide the necessary cost for a decent living, fast food workers.

Unions pushed for the creation of the council after years of struggling to represent workers in an industry known for high turnover, low wages and few worker protections.

The legislation describes fast food workers as “the largest and fastest growing group of low-wage workers in the state” and said the pandemic exemplifies what happens “when a workforce impoverished workforce is facing a crisis in an industry with a poor history of compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.

In August, a McDonald’s executive called the bill “hypocritical” and “rash.”

“It imposes higher costs on one type of restaurant, while sparing another,” McDonald’s U.S. President Joe Erlinger wrote in a statement. “That’s true even though these two restaurants have the same revenue and the same number of employees.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson said Fortune at the time the company, which rarely directly weighs in on legislation, decided to do so in part because supporters of the bill see it as a model that could be implemented in other states.

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Gladys T. Hensley