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No on AB 1228
No on AB 1228

In September 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 257 (Holden) into law – authorizing the creation of a Fast Food Council with lawmaking authority over the wages, working conditions, training and safety standards governing the fast food industry. Recognizing the existential nature of this threat, the fast food industry qualified a referendum to bring AB 257 to California voters.

In January 2023, McDonald’s hired BCFS to duly develop a winning strategy for the 2024 referendum and provide public affairs support to fend off any attacks waged against the fast food industry or the AB 257 referendum. Sure enough, SEIU sponsored AB 1228 (Holden) – a bill that would have fundamentally dismantled the franchised restaurant model in California by establishing joint-liability between fast food franchisors and franchisees.

BCFS developed and executed NO on AB 1228 – Stop the Attack on Local Restaurants – an aggressive public affairs effort that included opinion research, legislative strategy, highly targeted statewide and in-district paid media, earned media, legal and policy research, coalition building and a comprehensive field effort to drive grassroots advocacy. Over the course of this campaign, BCFS also re-positioned the fast-food industry to fend off a simultaneous attack: the resurrection of the Industrial Welfare Commission, an appointed council with unilateral authority to regulate wages, hours and working conditions for certain industries, including the fast food industry.


In September 2023, the California State Legislature passed a comprehensive legislative deal that eliminated the existential threats to the industry, provided certainty and cost predictability for local restaurant owners and saved the fast food hundreds of millions of dollars at the ballot. Key outcomes of the deal included:

  • AB 257 (Holden) was repealed.
  • All joint-employer provisions were struck from AB 1228 (Holden).
  • The budget appropriation for the Industrial Welfare Commission was repealed.
  • Local preemption to higher minimum wages targeting the fast-food industry.
  • Meaningful, yet predictable wage increases for workers.


  • Recruited and mobilized 1000+ diverse franchised restaurant owners across 68 brands, including 3,000+ calls and emails to legislators and 130+ legislative meetings in-district and in Sacramento
  • Built a broad coalition of 200+ organizations and restaurant brands representing local restaurant owners, social justice and faith-based organizations, minority business leaders and small businesses
  • Launched in-district digital advertising in 14 Assembly districts and 8 Senate districts as well as statewide digital advertising targeting political insiders
  • Launched TV and Cable ads in Sacramento and Los Angeles
  • Dropped direct mail in 15 targeted legislative districts
  • Drafted and placed 6 op-eds in target districts ahead of key votes, hosted 2 press events, issued 14 press releases, and generated coverage in 160+ articles
  • Secured five editorials opposed to AB 1228