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California's fast food workers to have a say in negotiating their wages

Newsom signed the bill on Labor Day.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom signed a fast food labor bill on Labor Day, allowing fast food workers to create their own minimum wages, safety standards, benefits and more.

“I’m kind of speechless right now,” said Evelyn Barillas, who works at Subway.

Through tears, she expressed her gratitude to all the lawmakers and the governor, who put his signature on the bill. 

”I’m proud on Labor Day to sign that bill," Newsom said in a video message. 

AB 257 creates a fast food council to help set minimum wages, working hours, and training, health and safety standards. 

“I'm very grateful for everybody, all the leaders that are standing behind all this, that made this happen," Barillas said, "and all because of us workers learning to have a voice, learning that coming together as one we were able to have our voices heard. A lot of people didn't believe in us."

Barillas spent countless hours rallying in favor of the bill and even spent the night on the steps of the capitol. 

“A lot of people bashed us but we were able to accomplish and make history," she said. "We made made a big mark on history, and this is going to be there forever.”

Assemblymember Chris Holden sponsored the bill. 

“Speaking as a former franchise owner, I would have welcomed this inclusive process that, in reality, benefits not only the worker but the franchisee as well,” Holden said.

Holden hopes, now that it’s law, that the large chain corporations and smaller franchisee owners give it a real chance. 

“I remain hopeful the opposition to this bill will give it a chance to work given the final version of the bill removed many expressed concerns of subpoena power and joint liability,” he said. 

The California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, saying the council the bill creates to negotiate higher wages has unprecedented authority to write its own labor laws and go around lawmakers and regulatory agencies.

Right now, the minimum wage in California is $15 an hour. The Fast Food Act council would start setting hourly wages at $22 an hour and increase with the consumer price index each year. 


California lawmakers approve fast food workers bill

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