California Fast Act: What You Need to Know

Jan 03, 2023

One million signatures stopped a new law affecting fast food workers starting January 1 in California. The Fast Act, or Assembly Bill 257, is a law that was signed on Labor Day by the governor of California, Gavin Newsom. The idea behind the Fast Act is to give fast-food employees more input regarding how they work, when they work, and for how much. The act constructed a council of 10 individuals to decide important work conditions such as hourly wages, benefits, working hours, and more.


What is The Fast Act?


The AB 257 bill aims to support the rights of fast food workers in California. It “was designed to give fast-food employees a seat at the table.” The council can change the minimum wage, raising it from the current $15 per hour wage to $22 in California. Restaurants defined as quick-service, with a minimum of 100 or more locations are the only ones directly affected by the Fast Act. Besides determining how much quick-service workers will be paid in California, the council decides on the work hours, and the environment they will work in.

Fast Act 2023


Why is There Opposition To The Fast Act?


Support for the Fast Act law is widespread, as shown by the petition signed by 1 million fast food workers and business owners. However, the concern of those who don’t support implementing the Fast Act is fear that the raised wages will increase inflation even higher. California has already seen higher food costs and the rising wages will increase the costs further.


San Francisco saw a 10 percent rise in food costs, with a 9 percent increase for food away from home. Save Local Restaurants said any more added costs on food would majorly affect individuals already fighting against inflation costs resulting from the pandemic.


Who Are Save Local Restaurants Group?


Save Local Restaurants consists of individuals from “small and family-owned businesses, minority-rights groups, workers, consumers, your favorite restaurants, taxpayers and community-based organizations” who are against passing The Fast Food Bill. Group members organized what they call on their website a coalition focused on redirecting the decision of Assembly Bill 257 to give the California voters the right to decide. Save Local Restaurants includes a compilation of three groups; the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the International Franchise Association.


The Projected Future


Due to a last-minute decision by the courts on Friday, December 30, a hold of the Fast Recovery Act has been issued to determine if the signatures signed in opposition against the assembly bill 257, or The Fast Act are valid, which, if they are found to be, would let the issue become a voters decision. It would move forward, going on the 2024 ballot.


It is expected that the signatures from the petition will be verified, putting the issue at a standstill until 2024, which is exactly what Save Local Restaurants wanted when first filing the referendum. The petition is said to have well over the required 600,000 amount of signatures needed, topping out at one million.