Under a new law enacted by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, fast food workers in California will reportedly be paid at least $20 per hour in 2020.
According to data compiled by the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, fast food workers in California will have among the highest minimum wages in the country beginning on April 1.
The state’s minimum wage for all other employees, $15.50 per hour, is among the highest in the country.
Cheering fast food workers and labor leaders congregated around Newsom as he signed the bill at an event in Los Angeles.
The Thursday signature of Governor Newsom reflects the power and influence of labor unions in the nation’s most populous state, which have organized fast food workers in an effort to improve their wages and working conditions.
In exchange for higher wages, labor unions have abandoned their attempt to hold fast food corporations liable for the misdeeds of their independent franchise operators in California, a move that could have upended the business model upon which the industry is based.
In the meantime, the industry has consented to remove from the 2024 ballot a referendum on worker wages.
The average hourly wage of California’s fast food employees is $16.6
The law also establishes a fast food wage council with the authority to raise the minimum wage annually through 2029 by either 3.5% or the change in averages for the U.S. Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical employees, whichever is less.