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Fast food workers stage statewide protests for better working conditions

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An Oakland Jack-In-The-Box restaurant.

Fast food workers in Oakland and Campbell held rallies at noon at Jack-In-The-Box and Burger King restaurants to demand improvements at their workplaces.

Organizers with the Fight for $15 campaign said the workers want improved health and safety conditions.

In Oakland, workers have filed complaints with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the Alameda County Public Health Department over violence and abuse they have allegedly faced, according to organizers. They say customers have thrown drinks and food, broken the glass door in the lobby and brandished a gun in a dispute over food. Workers allege that managers know what is going on and have done nothing.

Neither Burger King nor Jack in the Box immediately responded to requests for comments.

The workers also voiced their support for Assembly Bill 257.

If approved, the legislation would create a Fast-Food Sector Council able to set minimum health, safety, and employment standards in the state's fast-food industry.

In addition, the owners of individual franchise restaurants would have leverage over their parent chains when they need resources to comply with the standards. Corporate restaurants, like McDonald’s, would have to be sure their stores and franchise owners have what they need to meet the standards.

AB257 will go before the Assembly in January. A similar bill fell three votes short of passage in June.