One restaurant owner says fighting the minimum wage increase is - WDRB 41 Louisville News

One restaurant owner says fighting the minimum wage increase is a mistake

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After four successful years of business, Coals Artisan Pizza owners are expanding.

In the wake of a minimum wage hike in the Metro Louisville area, the owners at Coals say they aren't worried.

"It doesn't really affect us as much because any non-tip employee, we pay significantly over minimum wage and have for a long time," said Coals co-owner Mark Peters.

He says his rationale behind paying his employees more is simple. 

"We just have to. It's a competitive labor market. And above all else, our success depends on retaining our employees," Peters explained.

While the workers at Coals won't see a difference on their paychecks, they say they're happy that others will make a little more.

"I think overall it's an under-appreciated career and what's better for one of us is better for all of us. With higher increased pay, you find more professional people with better experience. The food tastes better. The experience is better. All the way up the plain, it's better for the customers. It's better for the industry. It's better for the community," said Coals employee Spencer Abernathy.

But some businesses strongly disagree. Members of The Kentucky Retail Federation, the Kentucky Restaurant Association and Park Hill-area business Packaging Unlimited aren't giving up this minimum wage battle. The group's attorney says he'll transfer the appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court in the coming days.

Attorney Brent Baughman claims the city doesn't have the power to create such an ordinance.

"This is purely about governmental power and whether Metro government has the power to do this. It’s our position that only the U.S. Congress and the General Assembly have the power to raise the minimum wage. I don’t dispute that they have that power, but Metro Council does not," said attorney Baughman.

The business groups against the ordinance have until the middle of next week to file a motion of transfer to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

In the meantime, the owner at Coals Artisan Pizza urges other businesses to step up their game.

"Find your niche and protect it. Then you can get the prices that will allow you to follow this trend, which I think is going to continue upward," said Peters.

WDRB.com Business Reporter Chris Otts has a story on how the city plans to regulate and track which businesses are following the new regulations.

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