DAVE ROSS

Supreme Court rejection of Seattle minimum wage argument is a ‘stunning defeat’

May 3, 2016, 3:55 PM

An important decision by the US Supreme Court to turn away a challenge to Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage law has franchise owners irate and advocates ecstatic.

Ron Fein, the Legal Director for Free Speech For People, told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that the court’s refusal to hear a challenge by franchise owners proves that wage arguments should be fought within the areas they will impact, not be decided by the federal government.

Related: Still too early to draw conclusions on $15 minimum wage

The decision is even bigger because of the amount of preparation franchises did to fight the city’s wage law. Fein says a noted lawyer was hired at the start of the battle, which may show the International Franchise Association’s early intentions to take their argument to the Supreme Court from the get-go.

“And that’s why the decision was such a stunning defeated for the [Association],” Fein said.

The Supreme Court is turning away a challenge to Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage from franchise business owners who say the law discriminates against them.

Five franchises and the International Franchise Association said the city’s 623 franchises prefer large businesses because they are part of multi-state networks. But in reality, the franchisees say, they are small businesses and should have more time to phase in the higher hourly wage minimum.

Small businesses employing fewer than 500 people have seven years to phase in the $15 hourly wage, while large employers must do so over three years.

Worker advocates say the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a challenge of Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage is a signal it will not be commenting on the laws that other cities and states are passing.

Listen to Dave’s full conversation with Ron Fein below.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Supreme Court rejection of Seattle minimum wage argument is a ‘stunning defeat’