WisBusiness: Dane County Judge Denies Injunction to Stop Madison’s Minimum Wage Increase

By Gary Fisher
For WisBusiness.com

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi today denied a temporary injunction to stop Madison from enforcing a city ordinance that raised the minimum wage for employees in the city.

Bill G. Smith, NFIB/Wisconsin state director, and the Mainstreet Coalition for Economic Growth Inc., filed a lawsuit last month against the city challenging the city’s legal authority in trying to mandate a minimum wage requirement that is higher than the state’s.

The suit sought a restraining order to stop Madison from raising the minimum wage in the city to $5.70 an hour on Jan. 1. The state’s minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.

Chris Tackett, executive director of the Wisconsin Merchants Federation, said the coalition will file additional legal briefs and seek a trial date.

“The next step is to get the Legislature to understand the seriousness of this,” Tackett said. “Even though (the court) denied the claim it illustrates the concern of having 500 different wages laws in Wisconsin.”

“It’s full-speed ahead on a trial,” he said. “I agree with Judge Sumi her concern of having a ‘balkanization’ or 500 minimum wages in the state.”

Summarizing the case, Sumi said the plaintiffs had not met the burden of showing “irreparable harm” nor “adequate remedy” of the ordinance proceeding.

“There is nothing in the state statute “living wage” law that shows the Legislature has expressly withdrawn Madison’s power to adopt its own minimum wage,” she said. “The overriding spirit is advancing the concept of a living wage.”