Franchise industry lawsuit against Seattle $15 law to be argued Tuesday

Lobby group contends that landmark minimum wage law is unfair to McDonald's, Subway, other global franchise systems

Less than a month before the first increases under Seattle's minimum wage take effect, the franchise industry's lobby group will be in Federal District Court Tuesday, arguing that the landmark $15 minimum wage law is unfair to McDonald's, Subway, and other giant franchise systems.

While corporate lawyers and their allies search for loopholes, every worker & customer knows the reality: giant chains exert an enormous amount of control over operations, training, menus, pricing, costs, ingredients, advertising, scheduling, and even real estate. These are tightly controlled highly-standardized multibillion-dollar franchise systems, and the peculiarities of their business model are no excuse for continuing to pay poverty wages.

Who: The International Franchise Association, an industry lobby group which represents both global franchise systems and franchisees. A group of fast food workers and supporters will be on the courthouse steps with signs.

What: Argue for an injunction against Seattle's minimum wage law on the basis that it's unfair to McDonald's, Subway, and other franchise systems.

When: Tuesday, March 10, 2015. A group of supporters of the $15 minimum wage law will gather with signs on the courthouse steps at 8:00 am. The case is scheduled for argument at 9:00 am.

Where:  Federal District Court, 700 Stewart St, Seattle. Oral arguments in the case (C14-848RAJ) will be heard by Judge Jones in Courtroom 13106

The $15 minimum wage in SeaTac and Seattle was just the beginning — workers with Working Washington will continue to rise up for better wages and working conditions in the weeks and months ahead. In the months since Seattle's law passed, workers have gone on strike for $15 in Bellevue, Aberdeen, Kent, and Olympia; a bill to raise the statewide minimum wage has passed that State House; and workers and supporters across Washington are planning to take part in a massive national mobilization on April 15th.  

More information:

  • Franchise groups are devoting great attention to "putting the right face" on their fight against minimum wage laws, recent leaks from a meeting of the extremist corporate lobby group ALEC show.
  • In reality, the International Franchise Association is a DC-based lobby group that represents global franchise systems as well as franchisees. Top executives at McDonald's, Marriott, and other chains serve on their board.
  • The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that McDonald's has so much influence over the operations of franchisees that they function as a joint employer.
  • Subway franchise owner David Jones recently estimated the price impact of the minimum wage increase at just 4%. At least one new Subway is currently under construction in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle.


Contact: Sage Wilson, Working Washington,