The International Franchise Association today asked a federal judge to issue an injunction to immediately block portions of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law from taking effect in April.
The organization sued the city in June to declare unconstitutional what it said was discriminatory treatment of franchises by treating them as big businesses under the new wage law. Now the Franchise Association has asked the U.S. District Court for Western Washington to immediately enjoin the city from treating franchises as large national companies “rather than the small, locally owned businesses that they are,” according to a statement from the association.
Seattle’s ordinance, adopted June 3, provides for a three-year phase in of the minimum wage for businesses with more than 500 employees and up to seven years for businesses with fewer workers. The lawsuit argues that the distinction violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and “defies years of legal precedent clearly defining a franchisee as an independent local business owner.”
The request for a preliminary injunction includes a sworn statement from Seattle nightclub owner Dave Meinert saying franchises were included as big businesses in the Seattle law because SEIU President David Rolf wanted to “‘break the franchise model’ and enable labor unions to organize the employees of such businesses,” according to the declaration.