Labor & Employment

Seattle OKs $15 minimum wage plan

The Seattle City Council on Monday approved a plan to require employers to pay a $15 minimum wage to workers within the next three to seven years.

“Today we have taken action that will serve as a model for the rest of the nation to follow,” said Mayor Ed Murray, calling the new minimum wage law a bold step to try to reverse three decades of economic policy which have harmed middle-class America.

As labor activists celebrated what is thought to be the highest minimum wage in the country, the International Franchise Association said it plans to sue to overturn the new law, reports the Seattle Times. It contends the law, which imposes a different timetable on large and small business owners for reaching the new minimum wage, wrongly includes independent franchise owners with big employers.

David Jones owns two Subway stores in Seattle. He says the $15 minimum wage will cost him $125,000 annually. He now pays his 18 workers an average of $10.50 per hour.

“I’m going to increase prices and work hard to provide the best service possible so that I don’t lose sales,” he told the newspaper, but noted that he is on a shorter trajectory than nonfranchise competitors, who get an extra four years before being requiring to pay $15 an hour.

“The playing field is not even,” Jones said.

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