Fair Wage War: IFA Takes Its Minimum Wage Battle to Chicago

Fast on the heels of its recent legal challenge to a new minimum wage law passed in Seattle, the International Franchise Association (IFA) has now set its sights on the city of Chicago.

Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the IFA, wrote a letter to the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week urging them to remove a provision in a bill to raise the minimum wage that would discriminate against franchisees.

Caldeira and the IFA have been clear in their assertion that franchisees are locally owned, small businesses and not large, national businesses as the legislation suggests. Giving non-franchise small businesses extra time to increase their wages, but forcing franchisees to raise their wages along with large companies is unfair and unconstitutional, says Caldeira.

The new letter states in part, "...the IFA recognizes the sincerity of your initiatives to reduce income inequality in Chicago, and we do not wish to thwart your efforts to create economic opportunity for Chicago's citizens. We respectfully request that minimum wage increases be applied fairly and evenly to all of the city's small businesses, including the franchises that make up such an important part of the city's community."

The IFA and five franchisees recently made news by filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeking to block Seattle's new law to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour. The complaint alleges the ordinance illegally discriminates against franchisees and improperly treats them not as the small, locally-owned businesses they are, but as large, national companies.

The minimum wage issue is likely to continue to create headlines.

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