SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new law aimed at raising wages for fast food workers has been delayed for nearly two years after an industry backlash.
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Governor Gavin Newsom signed the law last year. He created a council with the power to raise the state minimum wage from $15.50 an hour to a maximum of $22 for certain workers. Fast-food operators and franchisees say the law affects restaurants’ ability to thrive, as restaurants will have to bear the cost of increased wages for workers. Business groups were confident that the law would eventually be blocked at the polls. But hidden in California’s more than $300 billion operating budget is a provision to revive a long-dormant regulatory commission, said to have powers similar to the Fast Food Council.
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The commission has the power to investigate wages paid in various fields of employment. If it determines that wages are “insufficient to cover the cost of living,” an industry wage committee can be convened to gather insights and make recommendations. The European Commission can then issue specific orders on wages, hours, and working conditions. The commission was also instructed to complete its work by the end of October 2024 days before the voters vote on maintaining the fast food law.