Headline RoundupApril 2nd, 2024

How Will California’s Fast Food Minimum Wage Increase Affect Workers?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

California raised the mandatory minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 on Tuesday, sparking dialogue across the media spectrum.

‘Crazy’ Policy: David Neumark, writing for The Wall Street Journal (Lean Right bias), questioned why food prep employees at fast food restaurants should make more than those at the “corner diner” and argued that “policies should treat people in similar economic circumstances the same.” Neumark discussed several often-referenced studies on the matter and claimed they are flawed, ultimately concluding that a 10% minimum wage raise leads to a 2% fall in employment.

Too Much Power: Michael Reich and Justin Wiltshire, writing for CalMatters (Center bias), blamed the bearish outlook on the law change from critics and the media on an “unsophisticated understanding” of economics. The authors pointed to economists “repeatedly” finding that minimum wage raises don’t lead to “even minor job losses.” The two argued that fast food chains currently have too much power, resulting in artificially low wages, higher job turnover, and therefore vacant positions.

A Raise For Who?: An analysis from The Sacramento Bee (Left bias) looked into the nuances of the law and which workers will qualify for the wage raise. Notable exceptions include fast food restaurants that operate “a bakery that produces for sale on the establishment’s premises bread” and those that operate within a “grocery establishment.” Contrary to previous speculation, Panera Bread, whose owner is a significant donor to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, will not be exempt from raising wages.

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