McDonald’s And Other Fast-Food Giants Are Spending Millions To Prevent Workers From Getting Raises

A bill in California known as the FAST Act would entitle fast-food workers to a minimum wage of $22/hour, but McDonald's and other fast-food chains are spending millions to prevent the bill from being passed.

By Ryan Clancy | Updated

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Fast food global company McDonald’s and other major fast food companies are joining together to try and stop a bill going through that would give their employees a pay increase. 

The bill known as the FAST Act was signed by the governor of California last year. It was meant to come into effect at the start of this year, but a petition to stop the act’s implementation has received enough signatures so that it will go to a vote at the state’s 2024 general election ballot.

This act could completely change the fast food industry in California. Also, if successful, it could cause a ripple effect in other parts of the country that might bring similar laws into effect. 

It includes the creation of a Fast Food Council, which would contain 10 members overseeing different areas of the fast-food industry and ensuring that standards do not slip. The panel also would have the authority to make pay increases, health and safety standards, and holiday and remuneration policies. 

In the Californian fast-food industry, they could get a pay increase on the minimum wage to $22 an hour, which is over a $6 increase. The minimum wage would then be adjusted from there based on inflation rates. The fast-food industry in the rest of America would still be contracted to the original minimum wage of $15.50. 

Within the fast food industry in California, there are more than 550,000 workers of various genders and ethnic backgrounds, 80 percent of them being non-white, and 65 percent being women. 

Supporters of the FAST Act see this legislation as a movement towards a better future for fast-food workers with better wages and working conditions. By making Californian fast-food workers unionized, other workers in different states may push for the same, causing nationwide changes for such a widespread industry. 

This act would bring the fast-food industry a step closer to sectorial bargaining like other business sectors. Wages and working standards would be negotiated across the entire industry instead of by individual businesses. 

People who are against the laws from being implemented say that these laws could have devastating effects on the industry because if wages go up dramatically, then food prices need to reflect that. Businesses would potentially lose customers and lay off employees from that price increase. Economists state that if fast-food workers’ wages increase by 20 percent, food prices will have to increase by 7 percent to balance the profits.

The President of McDonald’s in America blasted the act, stating that it would lead to an unelected council making decisions, not business owners. They have decided to stop the laws, as Uber did in 2020 so that they don’t have to make their independent contractors employees and give them benefits such as paid sick leave and overtime. 

It is crazy to think that massive companies like McDonald’s want to keep their employees in basic poverty with no rights, so it does not disturb their bottom line. It is greed at its finest. Hopefully, the law will still get passed in 2024.