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California Legislature Holds Joint Fast Food Wages Hearing

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are looking at the cost fast food jobs might pass on to state taxpayers. As Max Pringle reports from Sacramento, 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 per year. The Center’s Ken Jacobs says the 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 Jacobs.

Jot Condie with the California Restaurant Association says 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. One out of three Americans got their first job in the restaurant industry,” says Condie.

Condie also said significant pay increases could hurt restaurants, which 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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