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

Major chain restaurants have seen California’s new fast food wage law and want this order overturned.

The “Save Local Restaurants” coalition, which opposes the state’s Quick Recovery Act, said Friday it had raised more than $12 million, with Burger King, McDonald’s and KFC owner Yum Brands among the collaborators, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The law could set the fast food minimum wage as high as $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% over a decades-long period of high inflation and have cascading impacts 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. Under this, companies are prohibited from retaliating against workers who file complaints.

Opponents of the law hope to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures to suspend the legislation until next year and let voters decide in a referendum whether to block it permanently after that.

Otherwise, the legislation, signed into law on Labor Day by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will take effect Jan. 1, with a 10-person panel working to establish a minimum wage for fast-food workers, with adjustments due to inflation

The FAST Recovery Act states: “The purpose of the board would be to establish industry-wide minimum standards for wages, hours of work, and other working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of, and the provision of the necessary cost to to a suitable life in, fast food restaurant workers”.

Unions pushed for the creation of the council after years of fighting 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 illustrates what happens “when a powerless workforce faces a crisis in an industry with a poor record of compliance with occupational health and safety standards.”

In August, a McDonald’s executive described the bill as “hypocritical” and “ill-considered.”

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

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

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