Fast Food Chains Sue the City of Seattle After New $15 Minimum Wage Law

Why are they suing? Large fast food franchises must comply faster than small food companies, which they claim is unfair
Staff Writer
Fast Food Chains Sue the City of Seattle After New $15 Minimum Wage Law


How much is the labor of a fast food worker worth? It seems that Seattle and big fast food companies disagree on that point.

For more than a year now, McDonald’s and other fast food workers across the country have been protesting and lobbying for better wages in the “Fight for 15.” Seattle just made their dreams come true by implementing a new $15 per hour minimum wage law.

Fast food restaurants are up in arms and have decided to sue the city of Seattle, claiming that the minimum wage increase from $9.47 to $15, which goes into effect on April 1, will take a toll on businesses and is allegedly “unconstitutional.”

According to the Huffington Post, the International Franchise Association, which filed the original lawsuit against Seattle, believes that local fast food franchises having to comply with the new law faster (by 2017) than small businesses (which have to comply by 2021), is illegal under the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits “deny[ing] to any person... the equal protection of the laws.” To be clear, fast food restaurants are comparing themselves to people who were formerly slaves during pre-Lincoln administration America.

“The Seattle Ordinance unfairly and irrationally discriminates against small, independently owned and operated franchisees,” the lawsuit states. “The Ordinance draws a distinction between large employers and small employers, finding and declaring that ‘a benchmark of 500 employees is appropriate in distinguishing between larger and smaller employees in recognition that smaller businesses and not-for-profits would face particular challenges in implementing a higher minimum wage.’ But the Ordinance does not apply that appropriate benchmark to small, independently owned and operated franchisees, which face the same ‘challenges in implementing a higher minimum wage.’”

In other words, you may be just a small neighborhood businessman who owns a McDonald’s restaurant in Seattle, but you’ll still have to come up with the money to pay employees a fair wage faster than the burger joint down the street.

The Daily Meal has reached out to the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, and McDonald’s for further comment. 

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