Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomenewsVirginia and New York Copy California's Fast Food Regulations, Raising the Stakes

Virginia and New York Copy California’s Fast Food Regulations, Raising the Stakes

AB 257, often known as the FAST Act or the Fast Food Recovery Act, would grant a 10-member “Fast Food Council” extensive control over major national fast food and fast casual eateries.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill in September of last year, and it will take effect on January 1, 2023. However, the restaurant advocacy group Save Local Restaurants gathered a million signatures to put the issue up for a vote in 2019.

On January 30, Jabari Brisport, a state senator from New York, sponsored the fast food franchisor accountability legislation. Save Local Restaurants swiftly launched a lawsuit, claiming that it had never happened before for a statute to take effect while voter signatures were being verified.

Despite the unvalidated signatures, California attempted to implement the law and claimed that it had the right to do so.

The impact of the bill, however, had already spread beyond the state. To create a similar policy board within the executive arm of government in her state, Virginia House delegate Irene Shin submitted HB 2478 on January 20.

What Concerns the Workers?

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents 2 million U.S. workers in the health care, public sector, and the property services industry, claims that the law would give workers “a seat at the table to help set wage, health, safety, and training standards across the fast-food industry.”

The fast food business, according to the bill’s proponents, is riddled with bad working conditions, including low pay, minimal benefits, and frequent infractions of labor regulations.

Virginia and New York Copy California's Fast Food Regulations, Raising the Stakes

According to Vincent Calderone, a former chain restaurant owner and Los Angeles employment lawyer who is currently suing Del Taco for sexual harassment and retaliatory firing, “there are severe concerns inside the fast food sector.”

The fast-food business, according to the bill’s proponents, is riddled with subpar working conditions. The fast food sector has “severe problems,” claims Vincent Calderone, a former chain restaurant owner.

2 million Americans employed in the healthcare industry, the governmental sector, and the property services sector are represented by the Service Employees International Union.

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Why Are Fast Food Chains Against It?

According to fast food firms, improved pay and secure working conditions are not a problem. Instead, they assert that they oppose government overreach at the behest of labor unions and the extra costs that the bill would impose on taxpayers and customers at eateries.

“To put it simply, organized labor hasn’t been successful coming through the front door – providing everyday people the freedom to choose whether they want a union or not,” Erlinger of McDonald’s wrote in his letter.

As a result, it pushed lawmakers to introduce, enact, and sign a terrible policy that harms small businesses, workers, and consumers.

“It is not obvious that this law will accomplish its aim,” the California Department of Finance stated in opposition to the proposal.

Enforcing the law would boost expenses for the government and “may result in a fragmented regulatory and legal environment for businesses and raise long-term costs across industries,” according to the administration.

Some economists estimate that consumers, who are already dealing with rising inflation, could end up spending up to 20% more on groceries.

Virginia and New York Copy California's Fast Food Regulations, Raising the Stakes

What is California’s Proposed Budget?

The proposed budget includes $4.6 million to hire 19 people to police the FAST Act even though there is no chance that it would pass during California’s fiscal year 2023–2024, which ends on June 30, 2024.

Some claim that this is unusual, particularly since the budget request was made on the same day that a judge issued a temporary restraining order on the law.

However, the California department that would implement the law claimed that the funding was included because the ballot initiative’s signatures weren’t verified until January 24, two weeks after Newsom released his budget plan.

However, opponents claim it’s the first indication of what the law if passed, may do to the size of the government’s expenditures. Erlinger said, “That’s only a drop in the bucket of what’s probably going to come. For upcoming fiscal years, millions of more money were planned.

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What Comes After That?

One thing is certain: Californians will be inundated with commercials during the fall of 2024. Neither side can anticipate how the ballot initiative will turn out the next year. More than $200 million, according to Greenberg and Traurig, would be spent on this conflict.

The former restaurant owner and attorney Calderone claimed, “This is exactly what the fast food industry was looking for.” This gives them the time they require to raise funds and begin influencing voters to prevent the implementation of this law.

He claimed that the Virginia bill was a carbon clone of the California law and that the fast food sector was already aware of it.


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