Raising Standards for Fast-Food Workers in California

Fast-food workers across the United States, often adults living in or close to poverty, typically earn very low wages with few benefits and experience poor working conditions. Setting and enforcing high standards in the industry is particularly challenging: It is heavily franchised, many small employers in the industry have little ability to profitably raise standards, and most workers are not unionized, making the fast-food sector in urgent need of improvement.

California can take action at the state level to address these problems and improve the lives of the state’s more than half a million fast-food workers by creating a sectoral council, as called for in the proposed FAST Recovery Act.1 A sectoral council brings together representatives of workers, employers, and the public to make recommendations regarding minimum compensation, safety, scheduling stability, and training standards for the industry. This important step could help build a new model of standard-setting for the fast-food industry and the country.

The above excerpt was originally published in Center for American Progress. Please click here to view the full issue brief.