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California Legislature Holds Joint Fast Food Wages Hearing

Capital Public Radio, November 13, 2013

 By Max Pringle

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California lawmakers are looking at the cost fast food jobs might pass on to state taxpayers. Wednesday's hearing was based on a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center study.

The study estimates that more than half of full-time fast food workers rely on public assistance, which costs California taxpayers more than 700 million dollars per year. The UC Labor Center study contradicts a lot of assumptions about the average fast food worker.

“More of the workers are parents raising a child, than are teenagers, 18 or under, living with their parents,” says Labor Center researcher and study co-author Ken Jacobs.

Critics of the study say fast food restaurants give low-skilled and younger workers job opportunities.

“As an industry we pride ourselves in being a point of entry into the workforce,” says Jot Condie with the California Restaurant Association. “One out of three Americans got their first job in the restaurant industry.”

Condie also testified that significant pay increases could hurt restaurants, which he says typically have smaller profit margins than other businesses.

The testimony was taken before a joint hearing of the assembly and senate labor committees.

 

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