EXCLUSIVE: Businesses Fight Against Seattle’s ‘Discriminatory’ Minimum Wage Law

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (C) celebrates with supporters and hands out ceremonial pens after signing a bill that raises the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour on June 3, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The bill passed unanimously in a June 2 Seattle city council meeting. (Photo by
David Ryder/Getty Images

The leader of a medical care and service company is speaking out to Breitbart News against Seattle’s new “discriminatory minimum wage law.” The law raised the minimum wage for individual franchisees as well as established big businesses such as Microsoft.

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments today on the International Franchise Association’s appeal to overturn a U.S. District Court judge’s previous decision that denied a preliminary injunction to halt the application of Seattle’s minimum wage law to franchisees. The Seattle law is drafted so that large businesses with more than 500 employees must pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2017 or 2018. However, smaller employers have more time – until 2021 – to increase the minimum wage.

Kathy and Mark Lyons own a franchise in Seattle under the franchiser BrightStar Care, a medical care and service company. BrightStar Care is a relatively small franchiser with roughly 180 franchisees under its brand. The Lyons’ signed on with four other franchisees with the International Franchise Association to sue the City of Seattle based on the minimum wage hike timetable.

Kathy Lyons, owner of BrightStar Car of West Seattle, Central Seattle and Bellevue/EastSide, says: “Hundreds of small business owners like myself are being punished simply because we chose to be affiliated with a recognizable brand name.”

“It takes a very special person to kind of champion what is wrong,” Sun added, saying Lyons is standing up for small franchisees and businesses.

Sun explained that the Lyons were asked, “if they would consider signing on as plaintiffs against this discriminatory lawsuit against Seattle.”

Sun said it was a big decision for the Lyons to put themselves out there, and that the lawsuit also takes time away from their business, so as the CEO she wanted to be supportive and make others aware of how small franchises could be put at a disadvantage if Seattle’s law goes into effect.

Sun told Breitbart News that she is “trying to be supportive of our franchisee” so she flew to Seattle on Monday in order to attend oral arguments Tuesday.

“She’s really the one in the marketplace where the jobs and the business is threatened,” Sun said of Lyons.

Sun explained that Lyons sets her own rates, decides what to pay and also what to bill. “We don’t do any of that as a franchiser for her,” Sun added.

Seattle’s law, according to Sun, doesn’t affect all businesses equally.

“It’s not an argument against minimum wage and what the right level of minimum wage is,” Sun told Breitbart News. “It’s about discriminatory minimum wage.”

“So because Kathy is part of my network and brand…because she’s not just a single location, not associated with a brand…they’ve labeled franchisees as though they were big business,” Sun explained to Breitbart News.

“It’s increasing minimum wage at a faster pace for those that are a franchise businesses or large businesses, causing Kathy to be in the same category as Microsoft, or Seattle’s Best Coffee or any of the other large employers…and that’s just wrong. It forces a small business like Kathy to be unable to compete with the true competitor she has in the market place.”

Sun also said a similar law was attempted in Chicago, but ultimately wasn’t implemented. Currently, St. Louis is also looking at a law similar to Seattle.


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