California law aimed at raising wages and improving working conditions for fast food workers is in the hands of voters.
The initiative could overturn the nation’s first law passed last year.
The law affects more than 500,000 fast food workers.
The referendum collected more than 623,000 valid voter signatures for the November 5, 2024 election, Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber announced.
Judge suspends California fast food law as restaurants, unions hammer each other
This law establishes a 10-member council empowered to set minimum wages and hourly standards and working conditions for fast food workers in California.
Two trade groups, the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association, have pushed for a referendum that will leave its fate to the voters.
Opponents say the law, which raised more than $10 million last year to fund the referendum campaign, will burden chain restaurant franchise owners and drive up the cost of food.
Restaurant group pushes to overturn California fast food wage law
The law was temporarily blocked in December by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge while ballot signatures were counted and verified.
The move will raise wages to $22 an hour by the end of the year for employees at chain stores like McDonald’s and Starbucks, which have more than 100 locations nationwide.
California’s current minimum wage for all workers is $15.50 an hour.
Both sides are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to attract voters in the referendum battle.
McDonald’s unveils first auto-location
The Service Employees International Union was confident the law would survive the election.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henderson said in a statement, “Despite the efforts of fast food companies to distort the referendum process, California voters know they see through their ruse.” No company is so powerful as 10,000 workers can come together and claim their seats.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.