McDonald's and other large chains hate Seattle's new increased minimum wage so much that they are suing the city in an attempt to halt it. Last year, Seattle passed a law that will raise the minimum wage from $9.47 per hour to $15 per hour starting April 1. According to Huffington Post, the chains — through the International Franchise Association with help from the National Restaurant Association — are claiming that the new minimum wage is not only bad for business, but that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment — which was passed in 1866 "to ensure equal rights for the free slaves" — says that no state is allowed to "deny any person... the equal protection of the laws." The International Franchise Association is arguing that "treating a franchised business differently from a local business" is in violation of this amendment. KUOW notes that franchises are arguing this is because small businesses will be given a longer time frame to increase their employees' salaries to $15 per hour. Franchise owners claim that this "puts them at a disadvantage."
The lawsuit has raised some eyebrows. McDonald's and many other chains have come under fire for how poorly they pay their employees. A recent study revealed that over 40 percent of fast food workers live in poverty. Huffington Post adds that 52 percent of fast food employees also end up on public assistance. McDonald's even told its employees that they should get a second job to make ends meet. This has inspired many workers across multiple states to organize and strike to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour.
While it is true that restaurant employee paychecks are on the rise — thanks to Americans dining out more and minimum wage increases in multiple states — many still struggle and will continue to struggle if big chains keep attempting to wiggle out of minimum wage increase requirements.