Discrimination: Group of Seattle Franchise Businesses Sue to Stop $15 Minimum Wage 


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, right, announces his proposed increase of the city’s minimum wage. Steve Ringman / AP

For the Los Angeles TimesMaria L. La Ganga reports: Five Puget Sound business owners and a trade group based in Washington, D.C., filed suit in federal court Wednesday to stop Seattle from enacting a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which would be the highest in the nation when it takes effect.

“The city’s minimum wage statute arbitrarily and illegally discriminates against franchisees and significantly increases their labor costs in ways that will harm their businesses, employees, consumers and Seattle’s economy.”

The suit, filed by the International Franchise Assn. and five local franchisees, argues that the new minimum wage discriminates against the owners of franchised businesses because it treats them like national corporations instead of the small businesses that they really are.

[Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum Wage]

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

Calling a thing what it is: 1930s-era Socialist wage and price controls in a 21st-century economy. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

[See also Seattle-Area Businesses Charge Customers Extra To Meet Minimum Wage Hike]

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Seattle City Council on June 2 and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray a day later, violates the U.S. and Washington state  Constitutions, the suit says, along with federal statutes and state law, and could put some small franchisees out of business.

The law is scheduled to go into effect in April and will phase in the increased wages over three to seven years depending on the size of the business. Businesses with more than 500 employees will be required to pay higher wages sooner than those with fewer workers.

[Seattle May Raise Its Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour, And Not All Liberals Are Happy About That]

Under the new law, “a non-franchise business that has 500 employees is treated as a ‘small’ employer whereas a small franchisee with only five  employees is treated as a ‘large’ employer if, as is usually the case, the franchisee is part of a network that employs more than 500 workers,” the suit says.

“As a result, until as late as 2025, the Ordinance will impose significantly higher labor costs on small franchisees than on their non-franchised competitors,” the document continues. “During that period, small franchisees are placed at an unfair competitive disadvantage.”…(read more)

Los Angeles Times


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