OLYMPIA Wash. The Washington Restaurant Association has blasted the state’s Department of Labor and Industries for setting a 5.9-percent increase in the minimum wage as of Jan. 1, to $8.55 per hour. “This is the time for steady leadership and an understanding of the issues crippling our small business statewide,” said Anthony Anton, president and chief executive of the WRA. “Without strong leadership, we could find restaurants closing their doors and employees being laid off.”In 1998, ...

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