California fast-food workers are set to receive a significant pay hike in April—and chain owners say they’re preparing to cover the bump in operational costs by raising the prices on their burgers and burritos. The Wall Street Journal reports that minimum wage for this group will rise to $20 an hour, 25% more than the state’s current $16 hourly minimum. (That rate will remain the same for workers in other industries, per Cal Matters, but health care workers will also see a wage increase). KTLA notes that the change spurs from a new law that aims to help the state’s 762,000 fast-food workers weather inflation and rising living costs.
“They’re seeking a living wage,” per KTLA consumer reporter David Lazarus, who notes that more older workers are joining the fast-food ranks. “That’s what the California law is meant to address.” Consulting firm Revenue Management Solutions estimates that for every dollar in wage increases, chains must increase prices by 2% to stay in line with their profit margins.
- McDonald’s franchise group the National Owners Associate says the pay hike will cost restaurants up to $250,000 per each year. The chain is still figuring out price increases.
- Over at Chipotle, where menus have seen several recent price increases, the company plans to bump them up again by 5% to 9%. “Everyone is going to have to pay more,” says CFO Jack Hartung.
- Marcus Walberg, whose family owns four Fatburger franchises in Los Angeles, tells Business Insider prices will go up 8% to 10%.
“What you will lose—the kids getting their first job at McDonald’s,” says Walberg. Other companies vowed to invest more in automation. The Journal notes that a study by the Congressional Budget Office found that boosting the federal minimum wage to $15 would have both pros and cons. While it would bring scores of people out of poverty, there’s also the risk that companies would raise prices and cut up to 1.4 million jobs. Financial planner Justin Rush says there could be a downstream effect in raising labor costs, but it can also spur economic growth. “If low-wage workers experience an increase in income due to a minimum wage hike, they may have more disposable income to spend.” (AI may be taking orders at fast-food chains soon enough.)
California, Oregon State have sights set on similar goal
Oregon State and California each head into the last four games of the regular season with a chance to reach .500 overall, starting with a game Thursday in Berkeley, Calif.
The Beavers and Golden Bears are each 11-15 overall with Oregon State 3-12 in Pac-12 and California 7-8 in conference play.
The Golden Bears have a chance to finish in the top six in the conference with a winning record in Mark Madsen’s first year as head coach.
California is coming off an 82-80 win at Washington on Saturday.
Jaylon Tyson scored 21 of his team’s 42 points in the first half while making 8 of 11 shots from the floor.
He finished with 28 points and six assists, including his final one to Jalen Celestine for the winning 3-pointer with five seconds remaining at Washington.
“Jaylon Tyson made the most unbelievable read with the pass and Jalen Celestine made just the most unbelievable shot to win the game,” Madsen said.
Tyson and fellow Texas Tech transfer Fardaws Aimaq are leading California in scoring, with Tyson averaging 20.3 points and Aimaq scoring 14.7 per game.
Tyson is averaging 7.1 rebounds and Aimaq is pulling down 11.2 per game.
Oregon State is coming off a 60-58 loss to Oregon at home on Saturday.
It was the Beavers’ sixth straight loss to their rivals, including three consecutive two-point losses at home.
Michael Rataj led the Beavers with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. He also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Oregon State was outrebounded 40-30 and was outscored 44-28 in the paint.
“Our big thing was to have a better year than we did a year ago,” said Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle, whose team was 11-21 last season. “We still have the opportunity in front of us with the games we have to get on a roll, win some games and put a positive spin on it.”
–Field Level Media
Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
California’s US Senate candidates agree AI should be regulated — but they differ on why
Artificial intelligence made its way onto the third and final debate of California’s U.S. Senate race Tuesday evening, where the four leading candidates met ahead of the March 5 primary.
All four candidates — Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of Burbank, Katie Porter of Irvine and Barbara Lee of Oakland as well as Republican ex-Dodger Steve Garvey — concurred that AI should be regulated, but they differed on the reasons why.
AI, “technology that enables computers and digital devices to learn, read, write, talk, see, create, play, analyze, make recommendations and do other things humans do,” according to tech company IBM, has California voters worried this election cycle. Just over five in 10 said they are concerned about their jobs being replaced by AI, according to a December survey by Politico and Morning Consult.
Schiff, during Tuesday’s debate, focused on how AI should be regulated to protect workers. He pointed to the Hollywood strikes over the summer, when Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Writers’ Guild of America members walked out over a number of concerns, including a lack of guardrails against AI taking over writers’ work.
“I was proud to be out there on the picket lines making sure that in these contracts for so many of the workers in the entertainment industry … had protections against AI, potential threat to their jobs,” said Schiff. “We need to also address these changes in the workplace in the light of these new technologies to make sure workers are protected.”
Schiff, when asked in the Register’s Voter Guide questionnaire what he sees as the federal government’s role in creating and enforcing a regulatory framework, said he supports “a high-level agency that is able to act nimbly and put adequate safeguards in place as the technology evolves.”
Lee, who is positioning herself as the more progressive candidate in the race, focused on the nasty side of AI: the potential for the technology to discriminate.
She pointed to studies that have shown how AI can stereotype based on race and gender. Last year, Stable Diffusion, a text-to-image generative AI model created by the startup Stability AI, was found to be amplifying certain stereotypes, like depicting men with lighter skin tones as holding the majority of high-paying jobs, including politicians, lawyers, judges and CEOs, according to Bloomberg. Low-paying jobs, like housekeeper and cashier, however, were depicted as darker-skinned women. A spokesperson for Stability AI told Bloomberg the company is working to develop open-source AI models that are trained to understand different countries and cultures, which they say will “mitigate biases.”
A 2023 study led by the Stanford School of Medicine found that popular chatbots like ChatGPT, GPT-4 and Claude, “appeared to reinforce long-held false beliefs about biological differences between Black and White people,” according to the Associated Press.
“We have to be careful that (artificial intelligence) is not used to discriminate against people because there are some real issues around racial justice that we have to address with AI,” Lee said from the debate stage. “Now’s the time to do it.”
“These are biases that target Black and Brown people,” she said in her Voter Guide questionnaire. “We must work to eliminate the biases within AI algorithms, and that starts by ensuring the way AI is designed and trained is more fair and equitable.”
But Lee also sees positives with AI, saying artificial intelligence can help with the climate crisis, education and healthcare and that a regulatory environment must be developed right away so that the technology can be used for good.
AI tools are already being used in these sectors, by detecting methane and forest fires, locating critical minerals for green technology used in solar panels and electric vehicles, diagnosing and treating illnesses and fostering immersive learning in schools.
Garvey, meanwhile, wants Congress to work with technological innovators, who are mostly based in California to adopt regulations governing the use of AI.
“Because once it starts affecting you and I, and once it starts affecting Californians, that’s when we have to have regulation,” he said.
Like Lee, Garvey said AI has the potential to help with challenges, including in the medical field and climate change.
“However, we must adopt reasonable regulations that ensure the disruption caused by AI is not catastrophic to the livelihoods and security of our residents,” he said in his Voter Guide questionnaire.
And Porter, who sought to position herself during the debate as an outsider unbeholden to special interests, pointed to the “powerful interests that are backing AI” as a reason to regulate the technology, referencing a recent ad from crypto-sponsored super PAC, Fairshake.
While the ad, which accuses Porter of taking money from major banks and pharmaceutical and oil companies, does not mention AI, the Irvine congresswoman alleged that the PAC — major donors to which include venture capital firm AH Capital Management, crypto giant Coinbase and tech company Ripple Labs — is part of the “powerful interests that are backing AI.”
“These are the same handful of ultra-wealthy billionaires who are backing ads that spread false truths about me,” Porter alleged.
In her questionnaire, Porter said: “AI has the potential to be a democratizing force — but it also poses dangerous risks like spreading misinformation online, endangering national security, reinforcing stereotypes and discrimination, automating jobs and more. Washington must take urgent action to protect against these potential risks — not slow walk until it’s too late to take meaningful action.”
While only Garvey, Lee, Porter and Schiff have participated in the three debates held thus far, there are more than 20 other candidates on the primary ballot for the U.S. Senate race, including Republican attorney Eric Early and former local TV journalist Christina Pascucci, a Democrat.
On AI, Early said that while he believes in small government, “the threat of AI run amok is so severe” that the federal government must actively regulate the industry.
Pascucci, too, called for regulation, saying her career as a journalist taught her “the value of truth and the danger of disinformation.” Like Garvey, Pascucci said while AI may cure cancer one day, it poses challenges and risks. Innovators in California’s Silicon Valley should be tapped to push forward the regulation of AI technology, she said.
Mark Ruzon, a software engineer who resides in Mountain View, said an area of particular concern is the use of AI in weapons.
“We should work with the nations of the world to outlaw weapons that use AI to attack civilians indiscriminately or to assassinate specific individuals,” he said.
California lawmakers introduce reparations package with formal apology for slavery
California lawmakers introduced a reparations package to their state house on Wednesday, including 14 bills they claim will help support Black communities across the state following historical mistreatment.
Members of California’s Legislative Black Caucus said the 14 reparations bills seek a formal apology for slavery and other human rights violations from the governor and legislature, and the return of property taken in race-based cases of eminent domain, among other restitution.
The bills are intended to be just the first legislative actions in an effort that will likely span years.
“While many only associate direct cash payments with reparations, the true meaning of the word, to repair, involves much more,” Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, said per Reuters.
CALIFORNIA VOTERS ISSUE STRONG REBUKE TO DEM PLAN TO OFFER CASH REPARATIONS: POLL
The 14 bills follow an extensive 1,100-page report written in June by the California Reparations Task Force, a group of lawmakers created by a state bill in 2020.
The task force includes Wilson as chair, Assembly members Steven Bradford as vice chair, Isaac Bryan, Dr. Akilah Weber, Mia Bonta, Christopher Holden, Dr. Corey Jackson, Kevin McCarty, Tina McKinnor, Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Mike Gipson and Reggie Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr.
Their work on the report spanned two years and they ultimately made over 100 recommendations to legislators in the state.
Among the above issues, the other recommendations include compensating people and funding community-based programs to decrease violence in Black communities.
CALIFORNIA REPARATIONS TASK FORCE CALLS FOR ELIMINATING CHILD SUPPORT DEBT FOR BLACK RESIDENTS
Wednesday’s 14 bills —
- Expand access to career technical education through a new competitive grant program.
- Add career-education financial aid.
- Amend the California Constitution to allow the State to fund programs to help increase the life expectancy of specific groups, improve their educational outcomes and lift them out of poverty.
- Formally recognize and accept responsibility for all the harms and atrocities committed by any state representative who promoted, facilitated, enforced and permitted the institution of chattel slavery.
- Prohibit discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles in all competitive sports.
- Restore property taken during race-based use of eminent domain to its original owners or provide restitution or compensation in such cases.
- Issue a formal apology for human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.
- Amend the California Constitution to prohibit involuntary servitude for incarcerated persons.
- Eliminate the practice of banning books without oversight and review.
- Fund community-driven solutions to decrease community violence at the family, school and neighborhood levels in African-American communities.
- Restrict solitary confinement within detention facilities.
- Make medically supportive food and nutrition interventions a permanent part of Medi-Cal benefits.
- Address food injustice by requiring advance notice of the closure of a grocery store.
- Eliminate barriers for people with criminal records to obtain business licenses and to prioritize African American applicants seeking occupational licenses.
The items were initially announced in January. None of the initial 14 bills proposed on Wednesday call for cash reparations, a subject which has garnered criticism from both sides of the proverbial aisle.
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Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer argued the bills would address decades of laws and policies designed to ostracize Black Americans.
“These atrocities are found in education, access to homeownership, and to capital for small business startups, all of which contributed to the denial of generational wealth over hundreds of years,” Jones-Sawyer said, Reuters reported.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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