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California Gov. Gavin Newsom names remaining members of fast-food council.

California governor names fast-food council members

Nine-member panel will develop standards on workforce issues like wages, working conditions and training

The California nine-member fast-food council, which will develop standards and wages for the industry, was named last week and will meet by March 15.

The final seven members were named Friday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and the panel will oversee such issues as wages, working conditions and training in the quick-service restaurant industry.

The council will exist as a part of the Department of Industrial Relations until 2029, unless the California Legislature takes action to renew it.

State labor agencies and California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower, a Newsom appointee, will also weigh in on the council’s decisions and how they are implemented.

The makeup of the council includes two members who represent the fast-food industry, two who represent franchisees or restaurant owners, two who represent employees and two who represent worker advocates.

One additional member is unaffiliated with labor groups or the restaurant industry.

The governor is responsible for appointing the restaurant employees, franchisees, industry leaders and the unaffiliated member. Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, and the Senate Rules Committee each pick one worker advocate.

Rivas in December selected Maria Maldonado, deputy field director for the Service Employees International Union’s fast-food workers union. SEIU advocated for both AB 257 and AB 1228, which were aimed at increasing hourly wages. The Senate Rules Committee in January appointed Joseph Bryant, SEIU international executive vice president.

The seven remaining council members were named Friday by Newsom’s office.

Newsom’s appointees included:

  • Nicholas Hardeman of Sacramento, who has been named chair of the fast-food council. Hardeman had served as chief of staff to State Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Toni G. Atkins since 2016. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Hardeman is a Democrat.
  • SG Ellison of Sonoma, who has served as CEO and franchisee of Diversified Restaurant Co. since 2019, and was previously president from 2014 to 2019. He has been CEO of First Street Development since 2013. Ellison is registered without party preference.
  • Angelica Hernandez of Paramount, who has been a cook trainer at McDonald’s since 2012. Hernandez is not registered to vote.
  • Piardip “Joe” Johal of Pleasanton, who has been CEO of Wendy’s of the Pacific since 2002. He was Health, Safety, and Risk Manager for Hewlett-Packard from 1983 to 2003. Johal is Chair of the National Governing Board for Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs and a member of the Wendy’s Technology Advisory Council and Indo-American Community Federation. Johal is registered without party preference.
  • Michaela Mendelsohn of Los Angeles, who has been president and CEO of Pollo West Corp. since 1988 and founded TransCanWork. She served on the Los Angeles County Workforce Development Board from 2018 to 2021. Mendelsohn is a Democrat.
  • Richard Reinis of Los Angeles, who has been a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP since 2014. He was a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP from 2006 to 2014. Reinis was CEO and General Counsel for Great Circle Family Foods LLC from 2000 to 2006. Reinis is a Democrat.
  • Anneisha Williams of Los Angeles, who has been a shift leader at Jack in the Box since 2021. She is a member of the California Fast Food Workers Union, formerly Fight for $15. Williams is a Democrat.

Newsom signed AB 1228 into law in September It would raise the minimum wage for quick-service workers to $20 per hour starting April 1, with an annual increase in line with inflation. The state’s minimum wage was $15.50 per hour.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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