Actually, if you know anything about the recent history of minimum-wage fights, you can probably guess exactly who's supporting a suit against Seattle's $15 minimum wage law: The National Restaurant Association. (Or, as many like to call it, "the other NRA.")
Yesterday, that NRA—along with five other business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce* and the Washington Retail Association—filed an amicus brief supporting the International Franchise Association's lawsuit, which seeks to block the parts of Seattle's wage law that put franchise businesses on the fast-tracked large business wage schedule. In their amicus brief (PDF here), they seem horrified by Seattle's wage law, and not necessarily just the franchise part.
"The Ordinance is extraordinary," their introduction begins. "Simply stated, the Ordinance will soon prohibit countless businesses from hiring any person, regardless of their skill level and experience, to perform any job unless they pay a wage of $15.00 per hour."
Um... yeah, guys. That was kind of the point.
They also repeat claims that the $15 minimum-wage law will cause rampant unemployment, prevent "low-skilled and inexperienced workers" from finding jobs, and erode the benefits that low-income workers receive from their employers. They say that increasing the labor costs of franchise businesses will make it "difficult—if not impracticable—for franchisees to compete" with non-franchise small businesses, and they cite comments from policymakers that the IFA lawsuit also cited. Like an e-mail Nick Hanauer, member of the mayor's minimum wage committee, sent to Tim Burgess, the city council president, in which he argued that "A city dominated by independent, locally owned, unique sandwich and hamburger restaurants will be more economically, civically and culturally rich than one dominated by extractive national chains." The horrors!
It's such whiplash to go from the $15 minimum wage debate, where it was common to hear the argument that a minimum wage would almost help the big guys like McDonald's and Subway, who could afford raises, but would inevitably crush the souls of little indie cafes and restaurants, to this new world of press releases from the IFA (and now NRA) that this horrible $15 minimum wage is gonna push all the poor little KFCs out of the city.
One heads up for anyone who didn't get the memo: One big reason why fast-food workers were included in a faster wage raise? THEY DID ALL THE GODDAMN WORK TO GET IT ON THE CITY'S POLITICAL AGENDA IN THE FIRST PLACE. Excuse me for yelling. But it's true.
*Motto: "Standing Up for American Enterprise"