We recently reported on the decision of SeaTac, a Washington municipality and site of Sea-Tac Airport, to raise its minimum wage to $15/hour, the subject of subsequent, ongoing litigation. Now, the City of Seattle itself has, through its City Council, passed similar legislation seeking to raise the City’s minimum wage ultimately to the same $15.00/hour level by 2017 for some franchisees, and by 2021 for all other businesses, with phased in increases and credits for certain benefits provided. On Tuesday June 3, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed off on the legislation.
“As with the SeaTac ordinance and in other jurisdictions, we anticipate legal challenges from the business community and others given the drastic size of the proposed increase,” observes Jackson Lewis Seattle-based Shareholder Bryan O’Connor. For example, in New York, former Mayor Bloomberg last year successfully challenged the New York City Council’s attempt to legislate a higher wage floor in certain industries on the grounds that state Labor Law preempts such rulemaking, despite policy reservations expressed by the presiding judge, Justice Geoffrey D. Wright. Mayor of the City of N.Y. v Council of the City of N.Y., 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3445 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Aug. 2, 2013)(“this Court believes that the Prevailing Wage Law could benefit the people of New York and does not see wisdom in the Mayor’s zeal for the possibility of welcoming to New York City a business that would pay its building service employees less than the prevailing wage. However, whatever my sympathies, the overwhelming weight of authorities points in only one direction, to wit, the denial of the defense motion and the granting of the Plaintiff’s motion for a declaration that the City’s Prevailing Wage Law is contrary to established State law and thus invalid”). That ruling is on appeal.
We will continue to provide updates here, and at the Jackson Lewis Workplace Resource Center, regarding proposed and enacted wage legislation.