Low wages and essential workers demand better protections in California

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Ivette Feliciano:

As for Ingrid Vilorio at Jack in The Box in Castro Valley, she says that since filing her complaint, workers have been given masks and paid sick leave related to Covid-19.

PBS NewsHour Weekend has requested feedback from the franchise owner and has received no response. But he received a statement from Jack in The Box Inc., the head office. He said the company had complied with all federal, state and local laws and ordinances since the start of the pandemic.

Despite the recent victories of workers like Vargas and Vilorio, the changes they fought for only apply to the stores they work in, it’s because of how the franchise system works: while companies contractually determine the operation of their restaurants, the franchise, owned as small businesses, is legally responsible for wages and working conditions.

Workers in the Fight for 15 campaign and a union are lobbying the state legislature to pass a law that will change that: the Fast Recovery Act, introduced last January.

That would make California the first state in the country to create a fast food industry council. A committee of fast food restaurant workers, employers and state agencies would set new standards for the industry.


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