Businesses seek to block portion of Seattle minimum wage law

SEATTLE (AP) — Franchise owners are asking a federal judge to block part of Seattle's new law which would see the city's minimum wage rise to $15 an hour.

The International Franchise Association was in court Tuesday seeking a preliminary injunction, saying the law discriminates against local franchise business owners by unfairly lumping them in with large businesses.

Last year the City Council voted to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The plan gave businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase — four if they provide health insurance. Smaller employers got seven years.

The franchise owners say they should be treated as small businesses because they don't have more than 500 workers locally. City officials have argued the franchisees have advantages that are unavailable to other local businesses.