SGB Attorneys Win Fight to Protect Increase in Washington State Minimum Wage Rate
SGB attorneys Martin Garfinkel, Adam Berger, Bill Rutzick, and Lindsay Halm representing the Washington Department of Labor and Industries and its Director Judy Schurke, were successful in defeating an effort by the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Restaurant Association, and the Washington Retail Association seeking to overturn L&I’s decision to increase the state minimum wage rate from $8.55 per hour to $8.67 per hour based on the provisions of RCW 49.46.020. SGB had been hired by the state to defend L&I because Attorney General Rob McKenna had advised against the increase. On behalf of L&I, SGB argued that the law mandated the $.12 per hour increase due to inflation over the past year. The business groups contended that no increase should be ordered until the national consumer price index exceeds its August 2008 level. Kittitas Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks upheld L&I’s decision, and as a result, the increase in the minimum wage will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2011.