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California's Fast Food Wage Law Negotiations Shrouded in Non-Disclosure Secrecy
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By News
Published 2 months ago on
March 7, 2024

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Gov. Newsom is accused of pushing for a bakery exemption to benefit a donor.

The SEIU required groups to sign NDAs during the negotiations.

The law has created a divide between labor groups and fast-food corporations.


The final negotiations of California’s contentious fast food minimum wage law, set to take effect on April 1, were conducted under non-disclosure agreements, according to multiple sources.

The law has been under intense scrutiny due to allegations that Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed for a special exemption for bakeries to benefit a Panera franchisee and billionaire donor, Greg Flynn.

Newsom and Flynn have denied these claims, and Flynn, whose company owns and operates 24 Panera Bread restaurants in California, now says his outlets will start paying workers the new fast food minimum wage of at least $20 an hour.

 NDAs Required During Negotiations

The Service Employees International Union reportedly required other groups involved in the negotiations to sign NDAs during the summer of 2023. These groups included representatives from McDonald’s, YUM! Brands, the International Franchise Association, and the National Restaurant Association. The SEIU has not commented on these claims.

Newsom’s office stated that the governor did not sign an NDA and did not instruct anyone else to do so. However, his office has not responded to queries about whether Newsom was aware of the NDAs’ use during the bill’s negotiations and whether he condones their use in public policy crafting.

Concerns Over Transparency and Disclosure

Chris Micheli, a professor at the McGeorge School of Law, expressed concern about the potential lack of transparency and disclosure due to the use of NDAs in legislative negotiations. The terms of the NDAs and how they would be enforced remain undisclosed.

Controversy Surrounding the Law

The law, which has been controversial since its inception, has created a divide between labor groups and workers and large fast-food corporations and their franchisees. The law also establishes a new council to negotiate wages and working conditions for fast food workers until 2029.

Call for Investigation

Republican leaders have called on Newsom to release records about the bakery exemption in the fast food bill. They have also requested California Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate the governor’s involvement in the special exemption for bakeries.

Read more at KCRA.

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