The trade group said it would petition the nation’s highest judicial body to review the IFA’s failed effort in a lower court to brand aspects of the wage increase as discriminatory against franchisees. The association has argued that the increase is unfair because it treats individual franchised businesses as huge companies—a part of their franchisors—rather than as small independent businesses.
Under the law Seattle passed in 2014, businesses with more than 500 employees will be required to pay workers at least $15 an hour by 2018. Smaller businesses have until 2021 to reach that pay level.
The IFA argues that the law discriminates by regarding a single franchised restaurant or store as being part of a larger organization rather than a separate business.
“Our appeal has never sought to prevent the City of Seattle’s wage law from going into effect,” IFA CEO and former lobbyist Robert Cresanti said in a statement. “Our appeal to the Supreme Court will be focused solely on the discriminatory treatment of franchisees under Seattle’s wage law and the motivation to discriminate against interstate commerce.”
The IFA cited a new study from the Employment Policies Institute that shows the wallop of a $15 hourly wage would hurt franchises more deeply than other businesses.
The group said it will not know until the spring if the Supreme Court will proceed on the IFA request to rehear the argument that was rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last September.