Gov. Newsom Signs New Law Raising Fast Food Minimum Wage To $20

‘We’re seeing more and more of these automated kiosks pop up, and this is why’

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A bill to raise the fast food minimum wage to $20 an hour in California was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday, with the new wage change to take effect in January 2024.

Assembly Bill 1228, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), became one of the most contentious bills this session during the summer, with only a compromise between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and fast food companies managing to keep the bill alive earlier this month.

Originally, the bill had planned to raise the minimum up to $22 an hour and hold franchise corporations accountable for labor law violations at individual locations. In addition, thanks to a new Fast Food Council created from a new law signed last year (AB 257), benefits like paid leave and predictive scheduling would be introduced. Faced with drastically increased costs, fast food companies took action. The number of electronic kiosks instead of cashiers swiftly climbed across the state, with a ballot referendum that would overturn AB 257, as well as put the law on hold until at least November 2024, getting enough signatures earlier this year.

With both sides ready to take even more drastic action, and the end of the legislative session looming, lawmakers brought together unions and fast food companies to work a compromise. Earlier this month, it was agreed the AB 1228 would be altered to have minimum wages for fast food workers going up to $20 an hour rather than $22 starting in April 2024, with local governments prohibited from raising them even further. The raise would only apply to chains with 60 or more nationwide locations and would not apply to chains that also operate an on-site bakery, such as Panera Bread.

The Fast Food Council, meanwhile, would be able to raise the minimum wage each year through 2029, but would no longer have the power to set workplace standards, only recommendations. They would also be prohibited from implementing paid leave, vacation, predictive scheduling, and other standards wanted by the SEIU and other unions.  Also under the agreement, Franchise corporations would no longer be held for labor law violations at individual locations.

With a compromise reached, AB 1228 passed both the Assembly and Senate on September 14th, albeit with divisive votes of 53-17 and 32-8 respectively. This led the way for Governor Newsom to sign the bill into law on Thursday.

“California is home to more than 500,000 fast-food workers who – for decades – have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions,” said Newsom at the signing on Thursday. “Today, we take one step closer to fairer wages, safer and healthier working conditions, and better training by giving hardworking fast-food workers a stronger voice and seat at the table.”

AB 1228 signed into law

Assemblyman Holden added, “Today, we witnessed the signing of one of the most impactful fast food wage laws that this country has ever seen. We did not just raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour for fast food workers. We helped a father or mother feed their children, we helped a student put gas in their car, and helped a grandparent get their grandchild a birthday gift. Last month, when we were knee deep in negotiations, hundreds of workers slept in their cars and missed pay days to come give their testimony in committee and defend their livelihood. Sacrifice, dedication, and the power of a government who serves its people is what got us to this moment. My goal for AB 1228 was to bring relief and solutions where they were needed and together with my colleagues and Governor Newsom, that is what we have done. Thank you to the SEIU and all who supported this important effort. We, as a state, should be proud.”

Despite some praise for the bill, others responded to the bill in a more negative light on Thursday. Many pointed out that the higher wages would only further push companies to hire less people overall and could lead to the pull out of several locations because of the higher costs.

“The worst parts were thankfully taken out of the bill,” explained fast food restaurant consultant Linda Medina. “The liability part was a no-go and what they wanted to put on these locations was harsh. They forget that these aren’t these big corporations running them directly. They are franchises, and the risks can be similar to running a stand alone restaurant. Pushing higher wages on them is pretty bad.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe


  1. While, with the Federal and state governments trying to implement a same for all approach to wages, the result will be a move among many of those companies to seek additional automation of their food delivery systems. That will, of course, result in fewer jobs and more people on government aid. That will drive inflation up with the no backing creation of money in the billions and even trillions. From there the government creates ever greater dependency (CONTROL!). How many of you want government to tell you what to do in every aspect of your life????s

  2. Government interference with capitalism NEVER helps the private sector. Regulations lead to Less profit, efficiency and market success. Safety issues? maybe. Any other regulation interferes with “free enterprise”. Every market is subject to CHANGE. Regulations are STATIC.
    Minimum wages are fictitious numbers 10 minutes after they are mandated. What happens to the teenager that wants to learn a job? What about the senior that wants to just supplement retirement pay? What about the jobs that never get created because the start up pay is too expensive to qualify funding?
    What politician has ever been smarter than a fluid competitive free market?
    Freedom to say yes or no to a job is mandated by the Constitution. Mandating a “living wage” for every worker does far more damage than any perceived fairness.
    If politicians want improved compensation they should stop flooding the market with illegal workers that will take any job at any price.

  3. so everyone’s gonna add an onsite bakery?

  4. NELA Resident says

    All the Commies from Northeast State Senator LA Maria Durazo, Assembly members Wendy Carrillo and Miguel Santiago want to Unionize all of California. Maria Durazo has been parading all of LA to Unionize all of Los Angeles making it a disaster for prices to keep their doors open and employees.

    Maria Durazo was married to Miguel Contreras, LA County Federation of Labor, a dingy storefront on gritty Florence Avenue in South L.A.,
    Final hours of Miguel Contreras

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