On Wednesday, The New York Post posted an article about the new minimum wage law in California.
The article reports:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that exempts Panera Bread from a new $20-an-hour minimum wage hike for fast food chains after the billionaire owner of several of the chain’s locations donated to his campaign, according to a report.
In September, Newsom, a Democrat, signed into law a measure that raises the minimum wage of food fast workers from $16 an hour to $20 an hour.
But the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Act) includes an unusual carve-out that exempts “chains that bake bread and sell it as a standalone item,” according to Bloomberg News.
Newsom reportedly sought the exemption, which benefits among others Greg Flynn, the billionaire CEO of Flynn Restaurant Group, the company that owns some two dozen Panera Bread locations in the state.
Flynn, who attended the same high school as Newsom, has been involved in business dealings with the California governor, according to Bloomberg News.
He has also contributed to Newsom’s political campaigns.
…The governor’s office told Bloomberg News that the law was the “result of countless hours of negotiations with dozens of stakeholders over two years.”
Flynn was publicly critical of the legislation when it was first floated in 2022.
He said that raising the minimum wage of fast-food employees would have an adverse business effect on franchise owners.
Flynn quietly lobbied Newsom’s aides to reconsider whether Panera Bread can be considered fast food, according to Bloomberg News.
The exemption for bread sellers was inserted into the legislation after the union that was pushing for the hike in minimum wage accepted it as a concession aimed at getting the governor’s support, the report stated.
I would not be disappointed if In-N-Out Burger decided to get out of California and come east!