Union organizing has been all over the news in the last year. From Amazon to Starbucks and strip clubs, there are more calls for workers’ rights and higher wages. Locally, Assembly Bill 257 would raise wages and ensure safer environments for lower-paid food service workers. While AB 257 passed, it’s now put on hold until at least 2024 because of a big referendum effort by restaurant and business trade groups to overturn it.
“In my lifetime, I've never really seen unionization movements like this happen in such a short period of time,” says Eater LA’s Mona Holmes.
She points out, “This is one of the hardest industries to work in. This is one of the hardest industries to own a business in. … Restaurants, they operate on very thin margins. … There is something about fast food work that is incredibly grueling, very challenging, very demanding. And these workers, they're not asking for a ton of money. A lot of that has to do with — they're being treated like human beings, being allowed breaks, making sure that they don't secure injuries on the job. And that's what they're focused on. … Most of them had said it's long overdue to make sure that these basic protections are secured for their just trying to earn a living,”