A California law aimed at raising wages and improving working conditions for fast food workers will be put into the hands of the voters.
The initiative could repeal a first law in the nation passed last year.
The law affects more than half a million fast food workers.
The referendum gathered more than 623,000 valid voter signatures to be placed on the November 5, 2024 ballot, Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced.
JUDGE STOPS CALIFORNIA FAST FOOD LAW WHILE RESTAURANTS AND UNIONS BEAT EACH OTHER
The law establishes a 10-member council empowered to set minimum wages and standards for working hours and conditions for California fast food workers.
Two industry groups, the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association, promoted the referendum that would leave their fate to the voters.
Opponents, who raised more than $10 million last year to fund the referendum campaign, argue the law would burden franchise owners of chain restaurants and increase the cost of food.
RESTAURANT GROUPS PRESS TO REPEAL CALIFORNIA’S FAST FOOD WAGE LAW
A Sacramento County Superior Court judge temporarily blocked the law from going into effect in December while ballot signatures were counted and verified.
The measure would have raised employee wages up to $22 an hour by the end of this year for chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks that have 100 or more outlets across the country.
California’s current minimum wage for all workers is $15.50 per hour.
Both sides are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to attract voters in the referendum fight.
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The Service Employees International Union remains confident that the law will survive the elections.
“Despite the efforts of fast food corporations to distort the referendum process, we know that California voters are up for their tricks,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henderson said in a statement. “No corporation is more powerful than half a million workers coming together to demand a seat at the table.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.