California Fast Food Workers to See Wage Increase to $20 Amid Economic Debate


Some fast restaurant workers will soon see a rise in their salary. Beginning on April 1, selected California fast restaurant workers will be paid at least $20 per hour. While this is fantastic news for some of these employees, not everyone is thrilled about the change.

This comes after AB1228 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in September.

The minimum wage of $16 per hour will increase by four dollars, but only for fast-food restaurant workers.

This means it’s only applicable in establishments with little or no table service.

It must also be part of a national chain of at least 60 places, with a primary focus on selling food and beverages for immediate consumption.

It will also establish a fast food council, which would make recommendations for a variety of other working conditions, such as health and safety regulations and training.

Restaurants at grocery stores are excluded, as are restaurants with on-site bakeries that produce and sell bread, as well as restaurants that connect to airports, hotels, amusement parks, and other locations.

Some people are concerned that this hike would affect their pocketbooks as well as the economy.

“I’m totally against it,” stated Carlos Ortiz. “I’ll continue eating out, but I’ll be more cautious when I eat out, watching prices, etcetera,” he went on to say.

Others, like Brittney Azevedo, are supportive of the shift. “I think it’s a good thing, just because I know there’s a lot of younger people working in the fast food industry and I think it’s a good opportunity for them to save up for college,” she told me.

A menu price hike is a problem, as are prospective layoffs due to business owners’ need to cut back.

However, Cal State Bakersfield economics Professor Aaron Hegde believes that because this is not a significant increase over the previous minimum wage, it will have little impact on jobs.

“I don’t think there’ll be a huge impact on the layoffs in the food industry.”

Still, there may be some impact on costs.

“It may not have a significant national impact. However, if you look at California, the average cost of a fast food restaurant may rise to compensate for greater wages,” he explained.

Hegde stated that it all boils down to what people are prepared to sacrifice.

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