Report: Fast Food minimum wage law negotiations used NDAs

Legislative Republican leaders are also calling on Newsom to release all communications over the law.

Whatever negotiations that took place behind closed doors over California’s fast food minimum wage law will not come to light because of non-disclosure agreements. 

KCRA reported that the groups involved in crafting the law signed NDAs. 


The big picture: According to the report, the Service Employees International Union required other groups in negotiations to sign NDAs. 

  • The negotiators included representatives from McDonald’s YUM! Brands, the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association. 
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said the governor did not sign an NDA and did not tell any other group to sign one. 
  • According to the report, SEIU uses NDAs routinely to build trust in its opponents during negotiations. 

The backstory: Recent controversy surrounding the $20 minimum wage fast food law – which will take effect on April 1 – gained attention last week when Bloomberg reported that Newsom pushed for an exemption for bakeries. 

  • The Bloomberg report tied Newsom to billionaire Greg Flynn, a Panera Bread franchisee who has donated to Newsom’s campaign in the past. 
  • Newsom’s office called the story “absurd,” and Flynn announced this week that all of his Panera Bread locations in California will pay at least $20 an hour to its employees by April 1. 

State of play: Thursday, Asm. Republican Leader James Gallagher and Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones sent a Public Records Act request regarding all records and communications of negotiations over the bill. 

  • They requested all records relating to the bakery exemption, including emails, letters, text messages, meeting notes, presentation decks, legal opinions and others. 
  • They also requested all communications between Newsom, Flynn, Flynn’s representatives and representatives of a variety of other companies. 
  • Newsom’s office is required by law to provide a written response to Gallagher and Jones within 10 days. 

What they’re saying: “It’s a heck of a coincidence that this deal, crafted in secret, just happens to carve out one of Newsom’s major donors,” Gallagher said. “If Gavin didn’t do anything wrong here, let’s see him prove it. Californians need answers, not just another politician saying ‘trust me.’” 

  • Jones added, “Obviously, the big group meetings weren’t where the Panera Bread exemption was made. It was in private meetings and conversations. If Governor Newsom is as innocent as he claims, he should be eager to clear his name by handing over these records.”
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