California's New Fast Food Law Flips Old Dynamic from 'Grassroots' to 'Top-Down' : The Indicator from Planet Money How would you like your burger? With a side of higher wages? Today on the menu, California's FAST Recovery Act is rethinking labor relations for the fast food industry.

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A super-sized labor experiment

A super-sized labor experiment

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David McNew/Getty Images
Signs for fast-food restaurant line the streets
David McNew/Getty Images

Historically, building a union in the United States has been a grassroots process. For example, while workers at one Chipotle may succeed in bargaining for better wages, that doesn't guarantee the same success for the Chipotle across town or the Qdoba down the street.

But California's FAST Recovery Act (Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act) may flip America's labor dynamic on its head. Instead of a bottom-up approach, why not a top-down approach where industry representatives decide on working standards for all? There's even a phase for this: Sectoral bargaining.

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