The campaign to Stop AB 257 issued the following statement today in response to the California State Senate’s passage of Assembly Bill 257, the so-called Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery (FAST) Act:
“We are disappointed but not surprised that the Senate Labor Committee decided to move this piece of special interest legislation forward. Despite today’s vote, the delay in hearing AB 257 demonstrates the Senate’s recognition that this bill amounts to a food tax on working Californians’ dining choices.
Today’s action by the Labor Committee moves tens of thousands of counter service restaurants one step closer to bearing the brunt of increased employee costs and onerous new workplace rules at a time when many are just getting their feet back under them from the harmful impacts of COVID.
The Stop AB 257 Coalition’s concerns with this legislation remain the same as they were last year when it originally failed in the Assembly: the bill sets aside existing labor laws in favor of a new set of rules developed and enforced by 11 unelected political appointees not accountable to voters. It also creates a second layer of local unelected Fast Food Sector Councils on top of existing regulatory and legislative industry oversight.
Union leaders would have you believe this measure is being pushed to help workers, but in reality, it’s nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. AB 257 will drive prices higher for working families at a time when they can least afford it. Last week’s Consumer Price Index showed prices increased a full 1.0 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in April. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.6 percent before seasonal adjustment. The food index rose 1.2 percent in May as the food at home index increased 1.4 percent.
Overall, the flaws in the legislation combined with this evidence of skyrocketing inflation are just further proof that passing AB 257 would be devastating for Californians who are already paying higher costs. It is simply unconscionable that legislators would make food affordability more difficult rather than less.
This bill still has a long way to go in the Senate. We fully support the rigorous worker protection and workplace safety structures already in place here in California. Senators should focus on fully funding and staffing those departments instead of pushing through a bill destined to hurt working families and thousands of hard-working small business owners.”