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Companies are trying to block California’s new fast food law

Companies are trying to block California’s new fast food law

California voters will have a say next year on a law passed last year that would enforce certain workplace standards at fast food restaurants after a petition was able to stop the law from taking effect.

Among the new standards, the law specifies that the minimum wage for fast food workers may go up to $22 an hour.

Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said the bill would not help employees and could increase costs by 20%. Additionally, a council consisting of representatives from restaurants and franchisees will be tasked with standardizing working hours and minimum safety standards.

“As the head of McDonald’s US business and a native of California, I had reason to pay particular attention to the bill and how it passed. But the outcome of the law — and the lessons learned here — matter to all of us, especially as the Golden State seeks to emerge as a model for the rest of the country,” he wrote.

McDonald’s is one of many companies Objection to law In-N-Out, Chipotle and Starbucks have spent more than $2 million to protest the law, according to state figures. Chick-fil-A, Yum! Brands and McDonald’s spent $1 million.

Lawmakers argue that the law goes beyond the minimum wage for workers. They say fast food operators failed to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite guidance and protections for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of protective equipment and social distancing and pressure to work at all costs persist,” the state’s analysis of the law said. A review by the Los Angeles Times of 1,600 federal OSHA complaints in the fast food industry during the pandemic found that regulators have been slow to intervene. According to OSHA records, ‘In response to those 1,600 COVID complaints during the pandemic, inspectors have only visited 56 fast-food outlets.’”

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Erlinger said he would welcome reforms that would provide meaningful workplace protections. He is also open to increasing the minimum wage.

He said the bill has too many exceptions because it only applies to restaurants with 100 or more national locations. In addition to establishments that function as grocery stores, there are exemptions that include bakeries.

“We welcome and support legislation that creates a level-playing field and applies to all industries and all workers. We support legislation that provides clear, meaningful, positive outcomes for the wider community and our restaurant teams. and transparent results. “We appreciate legislation that supports small business owners and franchised business models – and does not inhibit our ability to meet employee needs and align with our values.”

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