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AB-257 Fast food industry: working standards. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/15/2021 09:00 PM


Assembly Bill
No. 257

Introduced by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez

January 15, 2021

An act relating to the fast food industry.


AB 257, as introduced, Lorena Gonzalez. Fast food industry: working standards.
Existing law prescribes various protections for employees and generally charges the Labor Commissioner with the enforcement of labor laws. Existing law creates the California Retail Food Code, the purpose of which is to safeguard public health and provide to consumers food that is safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented through adoption of science-based standards.
This bill would enact the FAST Recovery Act. The bill would make a statement of findings regarding the fast food industry, particularly with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, and state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to the fast food industry.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the FAST Recovery Act.

SEC. 2.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(1) For years, the fast food industry has been rife with abuse, low pay, few benefits, and minimal job security, with California workers subject to high rates of employment violations, including wage theft, sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as heightened health and safety risks.
(2) Fast food workers are the largest and fastest growing group of low-wage workers in the state and lack sector-specific protections.
(3) The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the implications for workers and the public when a disempowered workforce faces a crisis in an industry with a poor history of compliance with workplace health and safety regulations.
(4) Workers with inadequate means to amplify their voices and their experience, and to address the pervasive problems plaguing the industry, have exacerbated the impact of this crisis and denied workers a path to win safer workplaces for themselves, their families, and fast food consumers.
(5) Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous local, state and federal laws and regulations have been instituted to require operational changes on the part of businesses to protect employees from infection.
(6) Numerous complaints filed by fast food workers with local health departments illustrate fast food operators routinely have flouted protections, including, but not limited to, requiring workers to work without access to personal protective equipment, denying workers sick pay, failing to inform workers of exposure to COVID-19, actively hiding COVID-19 cases, and demanding that workers come to work when they are sick.
(7) As a result, fast food workers, and the public they serve, face serious and unacceptable risks to their health and safety.
(8) In addition, fast food companies have profited during the pandemic, while California’s one-half million fast food workers have been hard hit, both medically and financially. Despite corporate profits, fast food workers are poorly positioned to participate in a fast recovery and a more equitable economy.
(9) Therefore, cooperation between state agencies with responsibility for improving and enforcing health and safety and other worker protection laws, with regular input from industry and worker representatives, along with improved incentives to achieve compliance, is critical to protecting fast food workers, customers, and the public.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to the fast food industry.