On Labor Day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed A.B. 257 into law, delivering to workers one of the most significant labor law victories in recent years. It has taken a decade of perseverance and tireless organizing from fast-food workers, SEIU and other union members, pro-worker elected leaders and community partners to achieve this landmark win.
The new law guarantees that fast-food workers get a seat at the table on the Fast Food Council, ensuring they have a voice in determining their working conditions and pay. More than half a million fast-food workers from across California will have the power to raise standards in terms of wages, freedom from discrimination and harassment, and other issues.
There are many different ways that workers increase our wages—traditional collective bargaining, civil service processes, prevailing wage and wage boards. We are excited to see this model emerge in California. A.B. 257 is one more example of addressing the tremendous need to repair our broken labor law system, which creates absurd barriers to millions of working people who would join a union immediately if the process were not so stacked against us.
The AFL-CIO wants every fast-food worker in the United States to be able to join a union. The passage of A.B. 257 gives workers the power of a much-needed voice and brings us closer to that goal. Raising wages for fast-food workers will help vulnerable communities, particularly the Black, Brown and immigrant women who make up the vast majority of fast-food workers in California. This is part of the national wave of worker activism and organizing. Employers need to listen to their workers who are demanding unions and a voice on the job and work with them. Starbucks, McDonald’s, Amazon, Delta—all need to stop fighting their own workers who clearly desire engaging in collective action and having a seat at the bargaining table.
“Governor Newsom’s signature on AB 257 makes this Labor Day a historic one and shows what’s possible when working people unite and raise our voices,” said Anneisha Williams, a Los Angeles fast-food worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “We’ve gone on strike, marched in the streets and rallied across the state to make sure our demand for a voice on the job was heard even as powerful corporations pulled out all the stops to silence us. We look forward to having a say in creating safe and healthy workplaces across the fast-food industry and to AB 257 serving as a model for workers across the country who desperately need a seat at the table.”