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Minimum Wage Established for QSR Workers in California


Following passage of the worker-friendly California FAST Act that increased wages for QSR workers, employers elected to initiate a referendum that would have placed the issue before voters as a ballot proposal in November 2024.  An agreement between the organization representing employers and the Servers’ Employee International Union will establish a minimum starting wage of $20 per hour and will restrict the authority of the state-appointed Fast-Food Advisory Council.  In terms of the agreement, Councils can advance wage rates by a maximum of 3.5 percent through 2029.  In 2024, the minimum wage in California will rise to $16 per hour.


The agreement will be ratified in the form of legislation with Governor Newsom agreeing to sign a bill codifying the agreement since this will obviate the need for a referendum.


Had the proposition been placed before the electorate, both the unions and the franchise operators would have expended additional millions of dollars to engender voter support to overturn the FAST Act.  The referendum would, however, have taken place with a higher level of transparency concerning funding for both opponents and proponents of the proposition.