- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - A federal appeals court decided Friday it will not stand in the way of a provision of Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law that treats franchises like large businesses.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court had ruled correctly when it denied a request for a preliminary injunction to stop Seattle from enforcing a provision of the wage ordinance that treats franchises the same as large employers.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association.

The appeals court said in its ruling that it did not believe the franchise association would succeed in its lawsuit and that a preliminary injunction would not be in the public interest.

The panel also said the franchise association was not persuasive in its arguments that its members would be harmed by the minimum wage ordinance.

The group believes the new law that went into effect earlier this year unfairly discriminates against franchises. Seattle’s City Council passed the ordinance in June 2014. The phase-in began in April with an increase to $11 an hour.

Seattle’s new minimum wage law gives small businesses seven years to phase in the higher wage, but requires large companies and franchises to meet the $15 target by 2017 or 2018.

The International Franchise Association expressed disappointment in the ruling and said it has not decided whether to appeal.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray called the decision a victory for city workers.

“This year, we’ve shown that higher wages benefit workers, their families and the local economy,” the mayor said in a statement. “This decision clears the way for Seattle’s next raise to go into effect on Jan. 1.”

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