A list of small Seattle businesses fighting $15 minimum wage law

By KTTH | July 8, 2014

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council may have rammed the $15 minimum wage effort down Seattle business owners’ throats, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking it sitting down. There’s a large coalition of small and large businesses that have banded together to oppose a hike in the minimum wage. You can see a full list at OneSeattleCoalition.org, but here are a few highlights:

McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, etc.

Well, not directly. But the International Franchise Association, which represents franchise business owners, is suing to overturn the $15 minimum wage law. Though franchises often bear the name of a multinational corporation, a local person usually owns them (sometimes, large investment companies own hundreds of franchises at once). Chuck Stempler, who owns an Alpha Graphics franchise in Seattle, has spoken on behalf of the IFA lawsuit.

The Canterbury Alehouse

This legendary bar on Capitol Hill may be one of the more surprising businesses against the $15 wage, given its location and air of eccentricity. If you don’t support the $15 wage, feel safe imbibing at this bar located near the corner of E. Mercer Street and 15th Avenue.


The owner of this hip bar on Capitol Hill – two blocks south of The Canterbury – has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the wage increase. Andrew Friedman wrote an op-ed in The Stranger where he says, “Ask your local coffee shop owner about their costs. Ask the owner of the card store or shoe store. Find out the facts before you make your decision, because I believe when you find out the truth, you’ll start to questions the propaganda of the 15 Now camp.”

Woodland Park Zoo

The best zoo this side of San Diego opposes the minimum wage increase. The zoo is a nonprofit organization that donates a large portion of its proceeds to animal research and animal sanctuaries around the world.

Terra Plata

Owner Tamara Murphy has been extremely outspoken about her opposition to the minimum wage. She often takes to Facebook to express her displeasure. She wrote in January, “I operate a café with kids who don’t know how to count back change, clean a bathroom, wipe down a table, or know squat about making a customer happy. I have to show/teach them how to clean a toilet with a brush. If I employ them full time that’s 30K a year for each of them. No skills, sometimes very little drive, because they are ‘artists.’”

Trading Musician

A renowned local institution, many budding and professional musicians have picked up a gently used (or brand new) instrument at this Roosevelt Avenue shop. The Trading Musician employs a slew of salespeople, appraisers, and repair technicians. Owner Robin Bartlett-Smith said she already gives health care, vacation time, and sick time, and that “raising to $15 an hour for everyone along the line hurts just the small businesses.”

Dick’s Drive-in

Burger lovers revere Dick’s for its food, and its employees revere it for the generous benefits they get. Dick’s pays employees well above state minimum wage, plus tuition reimbursement and health insurance. Jasmine Donovan, granddaughter of Dick’s founder, has come up with an alternative to a $15 minimum wage called “smart wage.” “Basically, if you’re the highest risk group of being poor and poor for your entire life – a high school dropout with no skills – we would set the minimum wage at the lowest, so you would have the easiest entry into the job market. If you improve your skills and education by getting a GED, your minimum wage would go up.”

Pagliacci Pizza

The largest and most well known local pizza chain also serves some of the best pizza in the region. It’s pricier than Domino’s, but well worth it, as their pies are big and delicious. But co-owner Matt Galvin said that a $15 minimum wage would cause the chain to increase prices 10 to 15 percent, add up to a $3 delivery fee, and move its call center out of Seattle – a lose-lose for job seekers and pizza lovers.


Bob Donegan, the CEO of the Ivar’s seafood restaurant chain, is passionately opposed to the $15 minimum wage, and is a key player in the OneSeattle Coalition fight. According to reports, Donegan was part of planning an initiative against the (now debunked) $15 Now ballot effort.

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