Latinas at the forefront of fight for fast food workers
On September 5, 2022, Labor Day, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the signing of the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (AB 257), a victory for the half-million restaurant workers California fast. Of these approximately 500,000 workers, 60% are Latinos, 80% are people of color and two-thirds are women.
The bill authorizes the creation of the Fast Food Council, a body made up of worker and management representatives responsible for setting minimum standards for workers, including wages, health and safety conditions, the right to s absence from work, safety in the workplace and protection against discrimination and harassment.
“California is committed to ensuring that the men and women who have helped build our world-class economy are able to share in the state’s prosperity,” Governor Newsom said in a statement. Press release.
“Today’s action gives fast food workers a stronger voice and a seat at the table to establish fair wages and essential health and safety standards across the industry. I am proud to sign this legislation on Labor Day when we honor the workers who keep our state running as we build a stronger, more inclusive economy for all Californians,” he continued. .
The signing comes after a years-long struggle for workers’ voices to be heard, a struggle in which many fast-food workers said they were exploited and benefited from unsafe working conditions.
According to Service Employees International UnionThis resulted in more than 400 strikes and the filing of nearly 300 health, safety and wage complaints throughout California with state and local agencies.
Such a notable complaint occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in which a worker who tested positive for COVID was told “Just wear a mask and don’t tell anyone” by the manager of a restaurant in Jack-in-the-Box fast food.
Jack-in-the-Box employee Ingrid Vilorio said in a press release that the fast food worker’s struggle “was a battle of Goliath versus David and we just had our voices to make sure that the AB 257 becomes a reality”.
Part of what made efforts to get Governor Newsom and lawmakers to officiate the bill was a tactic known as “industry bargaining” in which workers in the same industry band together to promote the change, rather than doing it one company at a time.
other industries, like the nail salon industry which reports rampant exploitation and abuse of its service workers, could use similar tactics as they fight for better wages in the industry, the tactic prevalent in the United States and other countries as well.