The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to part of Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance. Small business franchise owners who claim the law discriminates against them by treating them as if they are large businesses made the challenge as a last-ditch effort.
As Shift reported, the International Franchise Association (IFA), along with five local franchisees, sought to suspend the portion of the $15 minimum wage law that classifies franchises—no matter the size—as big businesses, which places them at a financial disadvantage against other small businesses by putting them on a “faster track toward paying workers $15 an hour.”
The small business franchise owners have modest number of employees, yet are placed in the same category as businesses with more than 500 employees due to clear discrimination at the hands of the law’s authors.
Shift reported that year that Seattle businessman David Meinert, a member of Mayor Ed Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee (which was charged with developing the $15 minimum wage law), said the following in a sworn statement:
“During the IIAC process, there was discussion about whether the Mayor’s minimum wage bill should treat small franchise businesses as large employers. I had several meetings with David Rolf [President of SEIU Healthcare 775NW and co-chair of IIAC] in which he told me that the purpose behind treating small franchise businesses as large employers under the minimum wage law was “to break the franchise model” and “enable labor unions to organize employees of such businesses.”
Unfortunately, it looks like big labor will get its way. The Supreme Court justices did not comment on their order. Therefore, the earlier federal court ruling in favor of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law stands.
And Seattle becomes a more difficult place for a franchise business to open – which is just fine for Mayor Ed Murray and the SEIU.