Franchise suit has no merit, but they *are* right about one thing...

Working Washington issues the following statement on franchise lawsuit to overturn Seattle’s $15 minimum wage:

Inspired by fast food workers whose strikes & protests challenged a business model that pays poverty wages while corporations bank billions in profits, Seattle's $15 minimum wage law is good for workers, good for our economy, and good for our independent businesses.

But McDonald's and other multi-billion-dollar corporations don't want to see Seattle's overwhelming support for $15 spread across the country. They know they are losing the public debate, so they had their DC-based based lobby group, the International Franchise Association, cook up a last-ditch kitchen-sink lawsuit.

Seattle's minimum wage law correctly treats franchise systems as single entities over the course of the phase-in period because that's how they function. Like other large corporate chains, franchise systems are highly standardized arrangements which share an entire business format, not just a tradename. Unlike independent enterprises, franchisees benefit from globally-recognized brands, national marketing campaigns, well-honed operational systems, and standardized purchasing, design, promotional, employment, training, and scheduling systems.

The IFA's legal challenge has no merit, but their lawyers & lobbyists are right about one thing. By ensuring every worker can support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy, Seattle's $15 minimum wage may in fact make it slightly more difficult for giant franchise systems to take massive profits from their poverty-wage business models.

That may be a problem for corporate executives at McDonald's and Subway — but it’s a historic accomplishment for Seattle workers. We’ve changed the national conversation about the minimum wage and our economy, and it’s not changing back.

More information:


Working Washington unites low-wage workers to fight for a fair economy where everyone can support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy. We launched the fast food workers’ movement in Seattle with the May 30, 2013 strikes; we helped lead the successful campaign to pass $15 in SeaTac; and we work in coalition with unions, faith groups, and other organizations to hold corporations & politicians accountable to community needs.

Contact: Sage Wilson, Working Washington,