California FIRES its FRIES!: The Tragedy of Minimum Wage Activism

April 1, 2024 was no April Fool’s Day for many fast food workers in California. When a new law went into effect promising a $20 minimum wage for fast workers, many found themselves worse off. Slashed hours or even laid off, young people felt betrayed by pipe dream politics.

The law included a controversial carve out that benefits some food chains at the expense of others. And laws like California’s updated FAST Recovery Act devastate the people they proport to help.

Is a coercive minimum wage even a Biblical concept? Especially one far above what employers and young employees would naturally agree on? The Bible strongly supports covenants and keeping one’s promises. Jesus’ parable of the vineyard workers explains that wage agreements are valid, and that graciously paying more is the owner’s discretion. Political middlemen need not apply.

Sources Referenced:

Nancy Luna, “Fast-food workers will make $20 an hour in California. Here’s why Panera Bread was exempted from the new law,” Business Insider, September 29, 2023.

Sara Chernikoff, “California Pizza Huts lay off all delivery drivers ahead of minimum wage increase,” USA Today, Updated December 28, 2023.

Grace Dean, “Fast-food restaurants in California are laying off workers to prepare for the $20 minimum wage hike,” Business Insider, March 27, 2024.

Anna Schier, “Prices Spike At In-N-Out, Burger King And More With $20 Minimum Wage,” Patch, April 8, 2024.

Sara Chernikoff, “McDonald’s, Chipotle to raise prices in California as minimum wage increases for workers,” USA Today, Updated November 3, 2023.

California Assembly Bill No. 1228

Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Boosting Wages & Supporting Workers,” California Governor Gavin Newsom, September 28, 2023, news video, 38:38 to 39:05.

Gavin Newsom addresses Panera Bread controversy,” NBC4, March 2, 2024, news video, 1:35 to 2:06.

Scriptures Referenced:

Amos 3:3

Leviticus 25:14

Matthew 20:1-15

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