mcdonald's fast food

Fast Food Workers Win Big in California

It’s been quite a long and tiring fight to increase the minimum wage in America with seemingly no help in sight. However, that will change soon for many fast food workers in California, thanks to a new bill signed into law.

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According to CNBC, California lawmakers recently passed AB 1228, a bill that contains several fast food industry reforms, most importantly a starting minimum wage of $20 an hour. California’s minimum wage is currently $15.50, which has increased gradually over the years through labor groups pressuring lawmakers. This new bill is a compromise between labor groups, who wanted an even bigger increase, and lawmakers. AB 1228 is set to take effect on April 1, 2024, and will apply to fast food workers at chains with a minimum of 60 locations across the country. The bill also creates an appointed Fast Food Council that has the power to raise the minimum wage each year based on the consumer price index, starting in 2025 and lasting until 2029. The Fast Food Council can also address issues regarding health and safety for the employees.

Unsurprisingly, fast food corporations aren’t happy about the bill. Some brands like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Yum Brands have lobbied against the bill aggressively. Oh no, giving minimum wage workers a decent living is the worst thing that could possibly happen!

Strikes in the service industry are more common than you think. As reported by Jacobin, McDonald’s workers in Denmark were in a similar position. They won both better pay and benefits through effective striking. They were able to secure not just $22 an hour pay, but extensive benefits like vacation pay and sick pay.

As we’ve seen before, corporations can get pretty nasty with their tactics when their profits are threatened even marginally. Companies like Starbucks have used illegal practices, like withholding wages from union workers, all to stop them from achieving modest gains.

Likewise, the companies that lobbied against this bill are most likely attempting the same tactics. As written by the Financial Review, McDonald’s has been guilty of union-busting before, as well as using strikebreaking practices to prevent employees from unionizing.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 28, 2023, as reported by AP News. The future of labor in California looks bright and promising. Let’s hope they can keep this momentum going.

(featured image: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson (he/they) writes about media criticism, race studies, intersectional feminism, and left-wing politics. He has been working with digital media and writing about pop culture since 2014. He enjoys video games, movies, and TV, and often gets into playful arguments with friends over Shonen anime and RPGs. He has experience writing for The Mary Sue,, Bunny Ears, Static Media, and The Crimson White. His Twitter can be found here: