It is deeply upsetting to see former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez ignore the voices of the voters and act as a tyrant who believes she knows best. The recent fast-food worker law, AB 257, is a prime example of this behavior.
AB 257 established a council within the California Department of Industrial Relations that would promulgate minimum standards on wages, working conditions, and training for fast-food workers. While supporters of the law argue that it is necessary because fast-food worker households tend to fall below the poverty line and complaints about wage theft and health and safety violations on the job are common, it ultimately failed to hold fast-food corporations jointly liable for such violations that occur inside a franchise bearing their name and only applied to restaurants with 100 or more establishments nationally. It also included a six-year expiration date.
This law, introduced by Gonzalez before she left the legislature, is now on hold thanks to a coalition of restaurants and business groups successfully placing a referendum on the statewide November 2024 ballot to challenge the law. The Save Local Restaurants coalition stated in a press release that the new law will lead to increased prices and job losses. In contrast, the head of the International Franchise Association stated that the council is addressing an issue that does not exist. Major backers of the coalition’s campaign committee, including In-N-Out, Chipotle, and Starbucks, have contributed $2 million each.
Gonzalez’s response to this news on Twitter, calling it “pure. Fucking. Greed,” is not only unprofessional but shows a lack of understanding of the economic consequences this law would have on the fast food industry and its employees. It is crucial that the voters have a say in this matter, and not be steamrolled by politicians who believe they know best.