Serving that side of fries now comes with a bit more job security.
The City Council passed sweeping job protections for fast food workers on Thursday, preventing them from getting fired without "just cause." Another bill approved by the Council prohibits laying off fast food workers unless there are significant economic reasons. Even then, these businesses must lay off people who were most recently hired and retain staff members with seniority.
The measure was approved overwhelmingly by the Council with just a handful of more conservative members voting against it. The mayor is expected to sign the legislation.
For years, unions and advocacy groups have rallied for better working conditions and higher wages for these fast food workers. The pandemic put particular pressure on the industry, whose employees were deemed essential — often working long hours as other businesses closed.
“Fast food workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, serving their neighbors, working in tight quarters, taking on new responsibilities for sanitizing, and yet often unable to speak up about health and safety issues for fear of losing their jobs,” Councilman Brad Lander, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said in a statement on Thursday. "These workers, the majority of whom are women and young people of color, have fought hard for years to raise wages and demand workplace protections.”
The bills apply only to large fast food chains with at least 30 locations. Many of those restaurants and business associations do not support the measures. Some called it “government overreach” with government dictating who private businesses could hire and fire.