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State fast food workers form union

Steve Rhodes
Flickr / Creative Commons

Thousands of workers statewide will be able to join the California Fast Food Workers Union, an organization that will likely represent a small share of workers but advocate for all fast food employees in the state.

CalMatters reports the organization doesn't have the same collective bargaining power of traditional unions. But it will be affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, a traditional union that represents workers in various industries and for more than a decade has fought to raise pay at fast food restaurants.

Recently it helped secure a $20-an-hour minimum wage for all fast food workers in California.

Workers who join will pay $20 monthly in membership dues.

The union won't be able to negotiate contracts with individual employers, but it will be able to advocate for better working conditions across the industry through a recently created statewide fast food council in a process similar to typical union bargaining, organizers said.

Last year the Service Employees International Union won a major victory with the passage of a law that created a fast food labor council that will set working conditions and standards in California and increase the minimum wage for fast workers to $20 starting in April. The fast food council will elect representatives and begin meeting by March 15.

State legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint 11 representatives to the council, including fast food workers and restaurant industry representatives.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.