Labor Day ’22 is more than BBQs in California
Since joining the restaurant industry back in 1997, Labor Day has become my least favorite holiday. While many gather with family on beaches and grill burgers and dogs in their backyards, millions of others are excluded from the sun and the fun. Ironically, these are the very people Labor Day is supposed to celebrate – the workforce. Those who often work the longest hours, the most physically grueling jobs, for the least pay.
This year Labor Day comes on the heels of California’s governor signing a ground-breaking new Fast Food Workers Bill. Among other things, it “creates a 10-member Fast Food Council with equal numbers of workers’ delegates and employers’ representatives, along with two state officials, empowered to set minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions in California.” The law caps minimum wage increases for fast food workers at chains with more than 100 restaurants at $22 an hour in 2023, compared to the statewide minimum of $15.50 an hour, with cost of living increases thereafter.
On the All-In Podcast, I heard left-leaning centrists exclaim: “this isn’t even about the workers. The workers don’t want this. The politicians want it!” Further evidence that some of the most progressive efforts to move society to the extreme left are back-firing in all kinds of ways. The “besties” are wrong on this one though.
The workers don’t just want this… they need it. We all do. Yes, the weakest large businesses – remember, this is for chains 100+ units strong – will go out of business. As they should. Their jobs shouldn’t even count as job. Better to rip the bandage off for the workers struggling to make ends meet in those companies and get focused on upskilling and moving into stronger companies that do pay higher wages or leaving the industry altogether.
Unlike most Labor Days, this is one to celebrate as significant steps have been taken to close the extreme wealth gap that threatens democracy in this country more than most of us realize.