In a groundbreaking move, California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a new law that will significantly uplift the living standards of fast-food workers across the state.
According to Reuters this legislation, hailed as a historic compromise between labor unions and fast-food corporations, will ensure a minimum wage of $20 per hour for fast-food workers, effective from April next year.
The law was born out of a broader agreement where fast-food companies withdrew a 2024 ballot referendum that aimed to repeal a law designed to improve wages and working conditions for employees.
In return, labor unions ceased their efforts to hold these corporations accountable for violations committed by their franchisees.
The numbers speak
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median fast-food worker in the U.S. earned $13.43 an hour in 2022. In contrast, their counterparts in California made an average of $16.60 an hour.
The new minimum wage will translate to an annual salary of $41,600, a significant leap from current standards.
The law also establishes a "Fast Food Council," comprising representatives from both the labor and employer sides. This council will have the authority to approve further pay increases and set standards for working conditions.
Governor Newsom emphasized that the majority of fast-food workers are the primary providers for their families, debunking the stereotype that these jobs are mostly held by teenagers.
California's new law could serve as a blueprint for other states, especially considering that the federal minimum wage has been stagnant at $7.25 an hour since 2009.
With over 550,000 fast-food workers in California alone, this law marks a significant step toward economic inclusion and equality.