The California Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are trying to head off passage of a bill that would set up an agency to set labor standards for quick-service cafes and restaurants.

AB 257, which will be voted on soon in the state Senate, would authorize a Fast Food Sector Council to write regulations for the businesses. The bill has been amended in the Senate, so the Assembly will have to vote on the measure again should the Senate approve it.

Business groups argue the bill will increase the cost of operating restaurants.

“These increased costs will inevitably pass on to consumers at the same time as inflation has pushed up grocery prices by up to 12% over the past year and restaurant prices by nearly 8%. Between skyrocketing food and gas prices, working families can’t afford to pay another government-mandated cost increase every time they eat a meal,” CalChamber says.

The business groups say the bill also isn’t needed, given the relatively small number of citations issued to restaurants as compared to other sectors.

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A coalition of union and advocacy groups supporting the bill says it’s the “culmination of years of worker organizing across the state that has been led by immigrants and people of color. AB257 gives workers the power to tackle systemic economic and racial justice issues that have plagued the fast-food industry because they will be at the table crafting the solutions they want to see.”

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