(NewsNation) — Fast-food workers in California are soon set to make more money at their jobs — assuming they still have them.

A new law mandating $20 hourly wages for fast-food workers goes into effect in California on April 1, but many restaurants have been cutting jobs or reducing workers’ hours.

Meanwhile, others are raising prices to help cover the higher wages for their remaining employees.

The $20 hourly rate is $4 higher than the current rate, which workers’ advocates say is difficult to live on in The Golden State.

The big raise is the result of the “FAST Recovery Act,” which passed the California legislature in 2022. Negotiations between union and industry officials settled on the $20 rate last September.

When it was first passed, the law won high praise from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents nearly two million workers nationwide. It called the big raise a “historic victory” and said it will “help set minimum industry standards around wages, safety and training,”

The owners of pizza, burger, taco and other fast-food restaurants say they’ve been unfairly singled out, though.

“One of our primary objections is that this wage increase only applies to us,” says Kerri Harper-Howie. The owner of 21 McDonald’s tells KTLA, a NewsNation local affiliate. “Why isn’t everyone getting an increase if, fundamentally, [the current] wage is not adequate for people to live?”



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