SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A petition to block the creation of a statewide fast food labor council in California has gathered more than 1,000,000 signatures, campaign organizers said, but a complaint filed by a law firm representing a proponent of the council questions the validity of some of the signatures.
Assembly Bill 257, also known as the FAST Act, would create a 10-seat council to oversee working conditions for employees at counter-service chains with 100 or more locations.
The Save Local Restaurants campaign, financed by industry giants such as Mcdonald’s and Starbucks and their franchisees, has been gathering signatures since September to get a measure on the 2024 November ballot to stop the law from coming into effect.
“The FAST Act would have an enormous impact on Californians, and clearly voters want a say in whether it should stand,” the Save Local Restaurants campaign said. “The measure would establish an unelected council to control labor policy in the counter-service restaurant industry, cause food prices to increase by as much as 20% during a period of decades-high inflation, and harm thousands of small family-, minority-, and women-owned businesses across the state.”
Proponents of the FAST Act say the law is important for the economic growth of fast-food employees.
“With AB 257, fast-food workers won a landmark victory for working people everywhere. Led by Black and Latino workers, cooks and cashiers have put their livelihoods on the line in their fight for a voice on the job,” President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Mary Kay Henry said.
“This landmark law protects and empowers over 500,000 fast-food workers and makes historic progress towards reducing racial and income inequality in California. Still, fast-food corporations refuse to respect the law and come to the table,” Henry continued.
A complaint filed by a law firm on behalf of the SEIU questions the validity of the signatures with claims that petitioners mislead people to get them to sign, some of which were backed up with video to support the claims.
Multiple videos submitted to the Secretary of State’s office show people who appear to be canvassers for the effort to block the creation of the council saying their petition will raise the minimum wage to $22 an hour.
One claim says that a person who applied to gather signatures was told by a supervisor that it was acceptable to tell people the petition was for raising the minimum wage.
Other major funders of the ballot measure include California-based chains In-N-Out Burger and Panda Express.
While donations from the McDonald’s corporation total around $1 million of the nearly $21 million raised to stop the FAST Act, many of the chain’s franchisees, who collectively own hundreds of locations in the state, rank among top donors to the effort.