(KTXL) — Next time you order those fries or take a bite out of a burger, things could change in the fast-food industry.
A bill going through the legislature could drastically change how fast-food businesses operate.
Assembly Bill 257, dubbed the “Fast-Food Recovery Act,” would create a council of 11 people to meet and negotiate every three years on behalf of fast-food workers for things like wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Supporters say the bill, “The Fast-Food Recovery Act,” would ensure fast food workers have a seat at the table to demand proper wages and treatment, but opponents argue it will do little to help that, and instead send businesses out of state.
Democratic Assemblymember Chris Holden of Pasadena, a former Subway franchisee, authored the bill and says workers will benefit.
“It’s to create the fairness and the process as we help the workers,” Holden said. “This is giving them an opportunity to be a part of the conversation about the industry and how they can have protections that are better equipped to meet their needs.
Crystal Orozco has worked in the fast-food industry for the last 15 years and supports the legislation.
“It gives us an opportunity to say what we need to say,” Orozco said. “We want to be able to keep up with inflation, keeping up with our bills. Every year our rent goes up. Every year, the utilities go up. They make all the profit, we are here scraping by, you know? It shouldn’t be that way.
The bill faces opposition from several groups, including the California Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association, and the California Chamber of Commerce.
Aman and Leena Mann are small business owners who oversee two Sacramento-area Subways and a Del Taco in the Central Valley. They said they already pay their workers above minimum wage.
The Manns are concerned that the bill would force franchisees out of state.
“What this bill would do would limit our growth,” Aman Mann said. “We are no longer going to be able to grow in the state of California.”
“There is a cost associated when you create regulation,” Leena Mann said. “ I just feel like when employees have issues, if employees have issues, there are agencies within California already. We should be using these resources. If both programs aren’t working, what’s to say this board will fix it.”
The bill still needs approval from the Senate Appropriations Committee and if passed, it will need to go through both chambers of the legislature before it heads to Govenor Gavin Newsom’s desk.