Retailers and restaurants all over the U.S. are concerned that Seattle's minimum wage price hike may expand to their city and state. In addition to federal minimum wage legislation, legislative efforts in several municipalities and state governments could change the face of retail in the near future.
On June 4, the Seattle City Council raised the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and the highest minimum wage in the U.S. "The City Council's action today is unfair, discriminatory and a deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda at the expense of small franchise business owners," said the International Franchise Association, a Washington, D.C.-based business group that represents franchise owners, in a statement. IFA plans to sue to stop the ordinance.
Still, other minimum wage hikes have been successful. Earlier this year, Minnesota raised the state's guaranteed wage to $9.50 per hour, which will fully take effect in 2016. California, Connecticut and Maryland also have passed laws increasing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years. And, like Seattle, San Francisco leaders are considering a minimum wage increase, up to $15 per hour.
However, other experts say that Seattle's government is unlike most other major cities in the U.S. Seattle's minimum wage ballot initiative came together quickly because Seattle Mayor Ed Murray promised to raise the wage to $15 per hour when he campaigned last year and set a firm deadline for that to occur.
Plus, Seattle "lacks much in the way of mega-retailers and major fast-food chains, so the largest national companies weren't involved in negotiating the compromise", according to Karen Weise, a writer for BloombergBusinessweek. In other cities and states, retailers' and restaurants' lobbying groups would likely be out in full force, preventing or reducing proposed minimum wage hikes.
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