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California Fast Food Workers Union

Knowledge is Power: Workers’ Rights Trainings and the Pathway to Improving Conditions in California’s Fast Food Industry

A report released by the Step Forward Foundation reveals that the vast majority — 88 percent — of California fast-food workers do not know their rights on the job and broadly lack information about essential benefits and programs.

The first-of-its-kind survey, conducted in partnership with the California Fast Food Workers Union, included 300 workers in 83 cities across California, representing dozens of major fast-food brands. The survey follows prior research finding violations of workers’ rights — including wage theft, harassment, discrimination and exposure to safety hazards — are widespread in California’s fast-food industry.

Download the report

The report finds that workers’ widespread lack of information about their rights, including the state’s policies around paid sick leave, paid family leave or workers’ compensation, leave workers particularly vulnerable to violations and abuse. Specifically, the survey finds: 

  • 93 percent of workers surveyed have not heard about or do not know how to access most key benefits and programs that they or their families may be entitled to including paid sick leave, paid family leave, disability insurance and workers’ compensation. 
  • 89 percent have not heard about or don’t know how to access their right to paid family leave, 83 percent have not heard about or don’t know how to access workers’ compensation and 80 percent have not heard about or don’t know how to access disability insurance.
  • 73 percent  do not know how much additional pay they are entitled to if they are forced to work through a meal break or rest breaks. 
  • Not one fast food worker surveyed knows the circumstances under which they are able to take paid sick leave.