California’s controversial FAST Act legislation, also known as Assembly Bill 257 — which would create a fast-food industry regulatory council, potentially raise the state minimum wage to $22 an hour, and most recently was put on pause until the Nov. 2024 election — could be gutted altogether due to proposed legislation from restaurant lobbying groups.
The Save Local Restaurants group, comprised of the Service Employees International Union, the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association, reached an agreement to propose legislation that would gut the original law completely. If passed, the deal would negate Assembly Bill 257, which was originally passed last September, and replace it with newly proposed rules that would water down the scale and influence of the fast food council.
Besides repealing the original legislation, the Save Local Restaurant Act proposes:
- The fast food council is established within the Department of Industrial Relations with equal representation from employers and employees, as well as one neutral party that will serve as the chair
- A new minimum wage for all limited-service restaurant chains with more than 60 restaurants statewide of $20 an hour, effective April 1, 2024
- From 2025-2029, the fast food council will have the authority to increase the minimum wage by a factor of no more than 3.5%
- All joint employer provisions and budget control language is removed
- Local municipalities will be unable to establish a higher wage specifically for fast food employees
“This agreement is in the best interest of workers, local franchise restaurant owners, and brands and protects the franchise business model that has provided opportunities for thousands of Californians to become small business owners,” Matt Haller, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, said in a statement. “It provides meaningful wage increases for workers, while at the same time eliminates more significant – and potentially existential – threats, costs, and regulatory burdens targeting local restaurants in California.”
The agreement is a part of Assembly Bill 1228 and must pass both houses of the legislature by Sept. 14 in order to become law.
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