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Red Lobster sign and restaurant.
The whopping 25 percent of hourly workers who get full-time work at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and other Darden Restaurants chains must be breathing a sigh of relief, as the company has said it won't be following through with its plan to cut all hourly workers below the 30 hours a week that would qualify them for employer-provided health coverage under Obamacare. Anyway, Darden won't be doing that yet, while the bad publicity around such decisions persists:
After Darden's tests were reported in October, the company received a flood of feedback from customers through its website, on Facebook and in restaurants, said Bob McAdam, who heads government affairs and community relations for Darden. Additionally, he said that internal surveys showed both employee and customer satisfaction declined at restaurants where the tests were in place.

"What that taught us is that our restaurants perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved," he said.

McAdam declined to give specifics on the internal surveys but said the decline was "enough to make a decision." Beyond the first year of the regulation, however, the company said it still needs to see how costs and other factors play out to determine what its workforce will look like in following years.

Darden cited bad publicity from its decision to cut all hourly workers below 30 hours a week to avoid providing health insurance as one factor in its lowered earnings expectations. The strongly negative response to Darden's Obamacare threats to workers casts further doubt on the claims by Papa John's that similar statements by its CEO had not hurt its reputation or earnings.

Other top chains, including McDonald's and the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, have also said they might move to more part-time workers, in an industry that's already heavily part-time. Neither can many of these workers easily have second jobs, given that today's part-time jobs often have unpredictable schedules handed down at the last minute. While cutting work schedules to 28 hours because 30 hours would entitle the worker to health care is a specific response to Obamacare, it's just a minor extension of the ways all these chains have been squeezing workers for years.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:39 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As you or someone said in a diary yesterday... (48+ / 0-)

    ...these responses to Obamacare are mostly by companies that treated and are treating their employees like shite anyway.  Just as Obama himself (his presidency) dragged the racists out into the open and turned dogwhistles into pruning hooks (er, I mean air raid sirens), so is his health care reform dragging assholes out into the sunlight to be exposed.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:44:23 AM PST

    •  These companies are also receiving massive (11+ / 0-)

      tax credits and cuts to "put people back to work".  If they want to play this game, maybe all those tax benefits should be based on 40-hour workers ONLY.  

      I like the idea of dropping the 40-hour work week down to 35 or less.  Clearly we have more people than work and until and unless that changes, we need to bolster the minimum wage and allow people more leisure time.

      The problem these big operators have is that while they suppress wages and hours, they will hit a tipping point where it makes little or no sense to take these jobs or, if taken, little incentive to do a good job or to even show up.  

  •  If the new "full time" is 30 hrs per week, (6+ / 0-)

    wonder how soon it will be that workers demand overtime pay for working past that Mark?

    Employers should file this under be careful what bus you shove down employees.

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:55:30 AM PST

    •  It's 30 hours for hourly-paid workers--but (22+ / 0-)

      for workers on salary, of course, the number of hours required per week is "until everything we expect you to do is done."

      •  Well, "until you exceed expectations" (16+ / 0-)

        would better describe the situation at some places. And then they start expecting you to exceed expectations.

        lol.

        Which is funny until they start seriously joking about that during the annual ream... I mean evaluation.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:24:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exceed expectation means doing other people's work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby, UnionMade

          for them.

          Part of my duty is to prepare weekly customer satisfaction report and provide high level analysis of the report.
          The report is very comprehensive because it starts from enterprise level to Line of businesses and sites within each LOBs (including overseas vendor sites).
          My analysis always start with the highlight of the decrease or increase in key metrics. call out the factors with the most declines and how they affect enterprise number. Sometimes major event like Hurricane Sandy or bad publicity may be the root cause of the decline in performance. In majority of the time the root cause for decline performance numbers is not clear cut.
          The analysis is suppose to be the simple part of my task. However, it is the part with the most headache. Every Line of business directors wanted me to tailor the analysis to their own specific need. if I  try to accommodate many people they complain that the analysis is too long.

           Last week, I Lost my cool at the LOB meeting when someone said I  should not include the increase/decrease in metric scores from week to week and some people tend to agree with him. I asked if they have ever see an analyst reporting capital market index like S&P without talking about gain or lost in the index and the top looser and gainer of the day or reporting on government employment report without comparing the gain /loss to previous report?

          The point is they don't want to dig into the report to see how it affects their line of business. They wanted me to do all the job for them. That is how I can exceed expectation

          •  Back before I retired, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UnionMade

            there was a time when we were all expected to work overtime for a while because of some projects that had kind of piled up. We were asked to keep track of the overtime we worked so our manager could look good for his boss.

            After a while he asked that we not report our overtime any more because his management had begun to take all that overtime as a sign of inefficient management. I didn't really know how to think of that for a while, but eventually decided that it was a way management had of using their comic genius to keep us amused.

            On the subject of other people trying to influence how you do your work, one of my supervisors just had to show how smart he was by making all sorts of suggestions on reports and papers we submitted to him for review and approval. We had to do a lot of work completely rewriting everything every time we submitted anything. Then somebody noticed that after two or three rewrites, he had managed to revise the work pretty much back to the way it was when we first turned it in.

            We were insulted for a while but finally decided that we ended up producing what we thought best and if they wanted to pay us extra for that, so much the better.

            Your experience sounds a little bit like that.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:25:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I used to be unhappy about my contract status -- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        this just in, importer, UnionMade

        no benefits, no security, no ability to plan far into the future.

        But...

        nobody's got security any more, so...

        As a contractor, if I get worked to the bone, I get paid for it.
        Most likely, I get worked to the bone only when there is no employee who can be made to stay up all night.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:55:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  None of this would ever have been (41+ / 0-)

    an issue if we had universal single payer.  Think of what a tremendous boon that would have been to even assholes like Darden's and Papa Jon's.  I guess "socialism" is too pro-business for them.

    •  They are in a big circle-jerk bind, though. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eps62

      Given the disparity between penalty and benefit cost, a number of employers may find it much more sensible to pay the penalty and give up the health benefit when the full ACA kicks in next year.  

      I expect a lot of employers to stop offering health benefits unless the penalty is increased.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:57:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't that an unstated goal of the ACA? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eps62, importer, minorityusa, sethtriggs

        The more separation you can put between a person's employer and their health insurance, the more you set Americans up for a public option or single-payer system. Bringing people into the exchanges will reveal to them what health care actually costs. It also gives exploited workers a lot more freedom to quit shitty jobs, which I contend is one of the main reasons employers (particularly shitty ones) hate the ACA.

        (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

        by TrueBlueDem on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:11:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Relying on employers for health care is idiotic, (0+ / 0-)

          but I don't know if that's an actual goal of ACA.
          If so, it's set up very badly for it -- a large employer exodus from offering health  care benefits will swell costs by quite a bit.

          The CBO estimates -- which I don't put much stock in -- presume that only about 4-5 million employees will lose health benefits.  that's only about 2-3% of the workforce, but subsidized insurance is available to well over half of people without employer-provided care.  If that 4-5 million swells to 2 or 3 times that amount, hello massive deficits!

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:18:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Democrats don't really care (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo

            if the ACA contributes to a deficit. There's a lot of window-dressing in there for the GOP, but we just want the health care. Not our fault taxes are too low.

            (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

            by TrueBlueDem on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:26:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's pretty much what I figured, but what (0+ / 0-)

              most Democrats are too cowardly to say.

              So -- query me this, Batman:

              If costs go through the roof, how much health care are you likely to get?

              I'm told it's better in some parts of the country, but I see family members having one hell of a time with Medicare and the doctors they can get. I'm terrified of what it will be like when I turn 65 in a few more years.

              At some point, there is a limit to how much you can tax people without having a significant negative impact on them and on the economy.  A constantly increasing debt requires a constantly increasing chunk of money just to cover debt payments. Services suffer or taxes must be increased.  There is a limit to how much you can raise taxes, so...services will suffer.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:39:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  It may be idiotic (0+ / 0-)

            But it's a very effective means of keeping your workers compliant and acquiescent, in fear for their jobs over gaps in insurance coverage.

            Think of it as shackles.

            Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

            by trevzb on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:19:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Helps, but the root of the problem is the cost of (0+ / 0-)

              health care.  If American health care were only as expensive as that in the countries with the world's best health care, we wouldn't have much of a problem.  Even Medicare and Medicaid would be much improved.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:45:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  This is yet (44+ / 0-)

    another reason to decouple employment from health insurance. Small companies have trouble affording it in the first place, and the big ones do everything in their power to avoid paying for it.

    Medicare for all.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:59:31 AM PST

  •  A business is not evil for structuring hours (10+ / 0-)

    When you have a hard cut off instead of a sliding scale of hours to responsibility for paying insurance, you will have cases like this where bad PR is the only deterrant.
    Why not have 20 hours = pay 50% of the insurnace. 30 hours = pay 75%. something like that? The numbers I give are simplistic, but they could have used this concept to come up with a sliding scale to avoid these kind of cutoff situations.

    I thought this provision was stupid in the bill.

    •  Good point (5+ / 0-)

      Whenever a set of rules is promulgated in a business context (presumably with the best of intentions), there will be people who immediately start to game them for their own narrow advantage. Does that mean they are evil? Maybe, but evil or not, they are behaving as one would predict based on the rules.

      The rule-makers have to take care not to create perverse incentives that effectively make the situation worse.

      •  Evil? Sometimes there's no choice. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DBunn

        In a competitive business -- and restaurants are an incredibly competitive business -- you have to find profits or go out of business.

        You may be able to do the Costco thing: create a model that lets you leverage better people in an operation with a relatively low labor footprint, allowing you to pay above market wages and better than market benefits.

        Otherwise, you are left with controlling costs relative to the competition.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:02:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Waitstaff at Red Lobster (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DBunn, minorityusa, PhilW

          Average pay is $3.81 and hour, meaning the company pays less that 5K a yr. Tips are supposed equal 20K a year.

          I would gladly pay 20% more for a meal, no tip, if I knew that waitstaff had a salary that they could count on. This business model has been set up by the companies themselves and then they complain that they must compete.

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:39:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How many of you are there? (0+ / 0-)

            I trust you would also increase your tip by 20%.

            Or -- in the alternative --

            Knowing that staff isn't paid very well, go straight to the source, and add that 20% to your tip.  I'd bet health insurance is a lot easier to buy if customers are tipping 35%.  A lot of other things, too.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:45:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Basically I was saying that (0+ / 0-)

              if the salaries were a living wage I would happily pay more for the meal. When I was in Australia I discovered that tips were not welcome, in fact they were frowned on where I was visiting. It seems to have changed some, but still it's not done everywhere. I spoke to a waitress about it and she told me she made good money and felt weird when people tipped, I felt weird not leaving one.

              "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

              by high uintas on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:07:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Right you are! (0+ / 0-)

          And that is why we need rules in the first place-- to prevent a vicious circle, race to the bottom dynamic from taking over market after market.

          •  The better answer is to stop relying on employers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DSPS owl, PhilW

            for something as important as health care.

            We live in an economy where people change jobs frequently for a variety of reasons.  It makes no sense to bind health care to employment.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:47:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure it does (0+ / 0-)

              Just not for the employee.

              Works wonders for exploitative employers to keep the "workforce" in line.

              Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

              by trevzb on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:21:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Agree with your comment, as far as it goes (0+ / 0-)

              If health care were the only issue, then I would agree with you entirely. But there are many tracks on which a race to the bottom can be run: worker abuse, environmental abuse, deceptive advertising, deceptive contracts, poor product quality, etc. This is why we have a minimum wage, for example.

              I will argue that controlling, or at least limiting, the race to the bottom effect is an important function of government.

              •  Of those items, everything except for (0+ / 0-)

                environmental abuse is directly related to the business and self-correcting (albeit, deceptive contracts may require an assist from the courts).

                Health care is different.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:43:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  bingo (0+ / 0-)
          In a competitive business -- and restaurants are an incredibly competitive business -- you have to find profits or go out of business.
          And guess what happens when you go out of business? NOBODY WORKS.
  •  And the best part is they're still stuck with the (7+ / 0-)

    ill will and bad image.  Assholes.

  •  Darden has become a really awful company (5+ / 0-)

    Which is sad. It used to be a pretty good corporate citizen here in Florida

    •  Is it a family business? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, wishingwell, TrueBlueDem

      Just wondering if it's a "next generation" effect. I have sometimes detected a distinct downgrade when a family business passes from the founder to the next generation. I wonder if that has happened to Big O Tires yet, something seems to have made it a different company from what it was a few years back.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:22:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's from Wiki... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby

        but it's true. Darden was once a family business but has been corporatized for a long time:

        "What would come to be known as Darden Restaurants began when William (Bill) Darden founded the Red Lobster Inns of America and opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland, Florida in 1968.[5] Darden chose Lakeland because he wished to see how the concept would fare in a non-coastal region, and Lakeland was the innermost city in Florida. The initial Red Lobster franchise was applauded by diners and critics alike. The store became successful and by 1970 had expanded to three locations in the state with two more under construction. While the locations were profitable, the company lacked the resources to expand further, so Darden sold the company to food giant General Mills that year. General Mills said that he would not upgrade the chain to a more casual dining/family fare oriented format, opened a new corporate headquarters in Orlando, Florida and installed Darden as company president. In 1975, when Darden was promoted to the position of Vice President of operations for the restaurant unit, Joseph (Joe) R. Lee, the company's first restaurant manager, was made President of Red Lobster.[6]

        Under General Mills, Red Lobster grew into a chain of almost 400 locations by 1985. The company underwent several restructurings and transformed itself from an inexpensive fast-food seller into a chain of casual dining seafood restaurants by 1988.[6]"

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        "And I'm talkin' in the fan, Orange Crush is in my hand, with the Star Telegram."--The Reivers

        by malibu1964 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:23:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I worked fast food in the '80s in high school (16+ / 0-)

    And got to see the scheduling process first-hand.  Managers used this as an opportunity dispense favors and exact revenge, it was completely petty.  Wednesday evening the schedule was hammered out for the following week that started on Monday, and available for all to see on Thursday.  We had about 4 full-timers and everyone else was at some level of part time.  There were actually some high-schoolers who were dependable workers who approached full time, and most others were in the 15-25 hour range.  If they liked you, you could get whatever shifts and hours you wanted, if they didn't like you they would totally fuck with you - lots of hours for people who requested time off, cut hours for people who totally needed them.  People who asked for Prom weeked off a month in advance would find themselves scheduled on the Saturday afternoon of Prom ("I thought you just needed to be off by 4pm") or opening at 7am the next morning and have to horse-trade with their peers.  It was AWFUL to observe, and I was one of the favorites...  I learned so much about how NOT to be a manager by working fast food!

  •  "What that taught us is that our restaurants . . . (19+ / 0-)

    perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved."

    Well, like, duh.  And these are businessmen?

  •  Brilliant idea for those poor CEO's: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn

    Hire the same employees for multiple part-time positions!  For example, a working mom should easily be able to multi-task as a cook for the morning shift and lunch, "go home" for half an hour, then come back for her second part-time job running the drive-through from early afternoon until after the dinner rush.
       What could be more perfect?  The restaurant has well-trained staff and a sense of continuity, the worker has an amazingly inescapable... I mean consistent work-place, and she should be able, if she rushes, to get home in time to tuck in those little welfare addicts of hers for bed every night!
       Meanwhile, the beauty part: no overtime, no benefits, and the kind of employee commitment you can't buy outside of the prison industry.
       Wow, this concept is so amazingly awesome, there must be a catch somewhere... No, I can't think of one, it's perfect!  Somebody pay me some of that money they'll be "saving," I surely deserve it!

    •  There is, of course, one little problem ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jhop7

      An employee has only one SSN and therefore one W2.
      You'd need to have different corporations issuing separate W2s.

      "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

      by Glinda on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:06:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obamacare should be changed then... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, DeeDee001, Esjaydee, m2old4bs

    Make 20 hours the limit.  There must be a tipping point at which hiring more part-time workers is more expensive than having fewer full-time workers with healthcare.  

    The struggle of today, is not altogether for today--it is for a vast future also. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:01:33 AM PST

  •  So people who get 28 hours... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, eps62

    will be pushing to get that extra two so as to get 30 or more. Some will walk to get that extra two.

    In the end the ACA may have beneficial effects beyond health care, more full time workers and fewer kicked around ones.

  •  Good, the workers win one (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Palafox, eps62

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:05:25 AM PST

  •  Please don't use the term Obamacare (0+ / 0-)

    It's a right-wing frame. Can't we just say 'healthcare?'

  •  My solution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Esjaydee, Palafox

    take all the employees and make the company pay for all the less than 30 hour employees on a sliding scale to the state.  In other words, if you have 10 people who work 20 hours, pay the state whatever the fine would be for 10 uninsured workers or something like that.  It makes complete avoidance impossible.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:12:37 AM PST

  •  These guys are getting an education (6+ / 0-)

    both on how popular the ACA is and the fact that more than half the country doesn't agree with them and is willing to back that up with their wallets.  It's probably something they should have seen coming, but it's hard to penetrate granite with a Q-tip.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:14:23 AM PST

  •  I think the wacky scheduling is taught (9+ / 0-)

    somewhere. Odd schedules and late closings followed by early openings and people not knowing what their schedules are until the last minute is a form of oppression. It messes with your sleep patterns and makes people dull and anxious. It's unhealthful.

    It's totally unnecessary.

    •  And... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      A lot of big companies, such as Wal-Mart, actually do their scheduling at the corporate office, rather than at the individual store.  This reduces labor cost because they don't have to hire a 'scheduler' at each store.

      'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

      by RichM on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:44:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And sometimes a computer does the scheduling (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RichM, TrueBlueDem

        as the retailer where my husband works. In fact, employees file for their vacation days online via a compujterized system and then the computer spits out a schedule each week. This keeps managers from giving the same shift to the same people and keeps a manager from giving some employee all closing shifts or all opening shifts and etc.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:00:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Retail does that too as my husband sometimes gets (0+ / 0-)

      a late shift followed by a very early morning shift. It does not happen often, fortunately when the computer does the scheduling.  But when someone is off on vacation or sick time, he can get stuck with working till 10 or 11 pm and then have to be in the next day by 6:30 am.  He does not know his schedule from week to week. We have figured out the pattern of what days he has off each month as that follows the same pattern but work shifts vary each week. For instance, this week, he works a lot of closing shifts meaning he goes in sometime in the afternoon and closes and then next week, he has all early shifts where he starts at 7 but he is done by 3:30 to 4.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:58:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think they just "observe" it happening (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Over the Edge

      However, I've heard that this type of management is called "management by stress". If you keep your employees off-balance worrying about their jobs, then they won't be as likely to complain - or check out the state laws which might not permit this type of scheduling.

  •  They could take a lesson from Henry Ford. (6+ / 0-)

    These fast food joints don't seem to realize that their employees and customers are the same demographic.

    Their employees are their customers. If you don't pay them enough to purchase your product, business suffers. If you publically humiliate them, business suffers.

    This is a product of the income disparity. The managing big shots can't even think like their customers do.

    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:19:53 AM PST

    •  Henry Ford was in a very different business. (0+ / 0-)

      He had assembly lines to keep moving, and they lost a lot of money when they stopped or slowed down.

      Relative to the overall cost of operations including the capital investment, labor was relatively cheap.

      Restaurants tend to be labor intensive.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:06:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guys... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m2old4bs, Palafox, eps62, northerntier, vcmvo2

    This shows US something.  We have POWER here.  Do you think Macy's numbers will be down this Christmas season?  Hopefully.  And how about going after Mickey-D's and Karcher Enterprises?  Oh, and Scott's, who make Round-Up and other products donated $250k directly out of the corporation to the Romney campaign.  

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:35:32 AM PST

  •  Can't imagine why customers complained about this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuetheRedWA, Palafox, TrueBlueDem

    I would definitely prefer to eat food that was prepared by employees who don't have health care and have to work a second job to make ends meet, especially if it means I save 5 or even 10 cents on the cost of a meal.  What could possibly go wrong?

    (recognizing, of course, that even at full-time hours, these jobs probably don't pay enough to make ends meet).

  •  These twits are supposed to be business geniuses, (5+ / 0-)

    but only just now are figuring out that to run a successful business you must have happy employees?  

  •  For the time being. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, eps62

    Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:51:33 AM PST

  •  Putting "spoiled" on a restaurant sign (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox

    is not indicative of good management in the first place . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:51:35 AM PST

  •  Yay, good corporate behavior (0+ / 0-)

    Double-yay, on account I like the Olive Garden salads and haven't had one in a long time.

    Was kinda jonesing for one when their name surfaced on the Papa Johns wannabe radar...

  •  Is there really a backlash, or are these companies (0+ / 0-)

    just making excuses?

    They happen to be in market segments that have been hurt by the soft economy for some time.  How are their competitors doing?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:52:38 AM PST

    •  There is backlash as I hear a lot about this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      this just in, northerntier, vcmvo2

      even in my rather conservative area.  There is a lot of backlash against Papa Johns, Applebees, and Chick Fil A and a few others due to all of this and more.  And some of the backlash is coming from surprising sources such as Republicans my husband works with. That is because they work in retail and feel badly for the employees in restaurants and a few retailers getting screwed over.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:03:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shouldn't employers contribute to healthcare (0+ / 0-)

    in direct proportion to the percentage of a full-time schedule their employees work?  That way, someone who works two half-time jobs still ends up with full healthcare.  Frankly, making workers pay their own medical costs forces them to subsidize their own work for others - others who then have the privilege of deducting their employment from corporate taxes.  This is a form of serfdom, and unacceptable in this country.

    In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

    by Troubadour on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:59:43 AM PST

  •  O Care and Darden (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, eps62, Over the Edge

    Shows what can happen when CEOs think they have become divine.  Anyway, who would want to eat at a restaurant that so openly treats its employees like crap.  Would you like a little spit with your lobster?

  •  Still boycotting them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62

    and adding McDonalds, Carl's Jr's, and Hardee's to the list.  

    Talk is cheap.  Let's see if they really will follow through.  In the meantime, the boycott remains.  

  •  More backlash needed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, DSPS owl

    I worked more than my fair share of minimum wage, part-time work in my teens and through college.  While my experience was mostly positive (because of people/friends I worked with) I think there are millions of others who would be shocked if they knew that big businesses and corporate food chains really don't care about the customers at all.  They see customers as a necessary evil for them to make money.  I've seen many choices made by managers or owners (or corporate head office) that they knew would anger and alienate customers but they did it anyway because it would make more profit.  

    Without such a massive backlash against Olive Garden and Red Lobster, the companies would GLADLY sacrifice the quality of service to further enrich themselves.  If customers complained,

    They do this because in most cases, they know branding and advertising will help people forget.  People want fast food or whatever and will continue buying it no matter how often the business screws them or how poor service is. They know that people will just get used to a certain lower quality and eventually come back.  It's why branding is so popular.

    They also do it because in many cases they don't care about customers unless you are a certain type of customer.  They want customers who spend a lot of money but make no demands.  If they alienate customers, they don't care so long as they lose the loud vocal irregular customers but can keep the hardcore loyal customers.  Corporate HQ doesn't care if one single store loses customers if the business as a whole increases profits.  In most cases it is just the franchisee that is hurt.  Even then, many franchisee's may own more than one business anyway.  So the success of one single franchise store isn't too big a deal compared to a local entrepreneur who needs to be profitable AND keep customers extremely happy.

    This wouldn't be the case if we lived in a truly capitalist society.  Instead we live in a corporatist society and profits are the only thing that matters, even more than customer service.

    I hope this type of backlash becomes a regular thing because only once an issue is so large that it affect a corporate chains bottom line on a large scale, will they change their policies.

  •  Maybe they don't teach this in Business School... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosmicvoop

    ...but you don't have a business if you don't have customers or employees.  These businesses just assume that the workers will simply accept the curtailed hours.  Some might not...and usually the full time staff is the more competent staff at many of these types of places.  It might actually drive up wages and costs as the business might have to pay more to attract workers.  I understand that with the high unemployment that these positions will be filled but times will get better (hopefully).  There may also be significant churn in the staff as the turnover rate may increase as employees find better jobs elsewhere.  Turnover has cost implications.

    "When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along." --Carl Sandburg

    by Mote Dai on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:11:20 AM PST

  •  Fine. They'll still never see a dime of my money. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosmicvoop

    Let 'em try to put the greed genie back in the bottle.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:12:43 AM PST

  •  Boycott and Protesting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, cosmicvoop, DSPS owl

    To me a boycott is the first step, using the power of your spending, but to actually protesting outside the organisation and urge people not to shop there is a very potent weapon.

  •  Sickened by this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, northerntier

    I am truly sickened by the greed of these CEO's who wildly scream "I shouldn't be forced to pay for any health care!  My employees should be responsible for their own health care, I shouldn't be involved!"

    These are the exact same people who fought tooth and nail against single-payer.

    THE.  EXACT.  SAME.  PEOPLE.

    •  The employer does not pay for health care. (0+ / 0-)

      The employee does.

      It works the same with FICA. My employer doesn't pay those "employer matched" contributions. I do. It comes out of my potential wages, no matter who actually writes the checks.

      The fact of the matter is, there are costs to employing someone, and a business must be able to turn a profit or else it shuts down and nobody works.

      When some costs rise, say from mandated health care coverage, other costs must be reduced. This could be hourly pay or hours worked or whatever.

      Running a business is not a charity.

      •  Costs of health care (0+ / 0-)

        I am somewhat curious as to why anyone is upset about this?

        Since the most important thing that a company can do is turn a profit, and lets say that a company takes all its full time workers and cuts them to 25 hour workers, and then hires more 25 hour workers to avoid paying for the health care costs.

        First, why would this surprise anyone that a business would consider to do this if it increases the business' profits, after all, the only reason it exists is to make a profit.

        Those people will just get their healthcare from the government when their employer stops paying it, right?

        I mean, it's not like the Democrats are helping rich people avoid paying their fair share. Someone like President Clinton would have to pardon someone like Mark Rich for not paying their taxes for that to happen, right?

        (I mean there would have to be people like former Senator Daschle and Secretary Geithner too for this not to be just a one off thing, right? Look, I am an independent, I am just saying, this is not as clear cut as people make it seem.)

        Doing this is allowed under the Obamacare health law, so companies are acting in compliance with the law if they do this. How is being a law abiding corporation unpatriotic or wrong? They did not pass the law, as a matter of fact, the restaurant associations lobbied against it. Now that it is here, they are making the best of it. Why would that surprise anyone?

        What is most interesting is that the Democrats wrote this law, how could there be any parts to the law that they are upset that people are complying with? It makes little sense. This is exactly what the Democrats wanted to happen. Remember when Polosi said we need to pass this so we can see what is in it? This was in it. I truly think this is part of what she meant.

        Moreover, why is a company making a profit a bad thing?

        I mean, if Olive Garden makes a profit and issues its stock holders a dividend, isn't that merely a reason to buy their stock and advantage yourself to make some money?

        Remember, companies and the stock market are what fund most public and private pension plans. So if we want good pensions when we retire, why would we wish to kill the profit capabilities of the very companies that are building our retirement wealth for us?

        I don't care what Olive Garden does to its low level employees, most of the people involved are just a bunch of unskilled laborers anyway. If they do not have a skilled labor job it is probably because of a lack of education and ability to work in a better position (say in executive management) due to their lack of college degree, MBA, or what have you.

        George

  •  When You're Here, You're Homeless! (0+ / 0-)
  •  How many MBAs did it take to figure this out? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Over the Edge
    "What that taught us is that our restaurants perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved," he said.
    One of the first things I learned when I started running a business was that one full-time employee was much more efficient, productive, and easier to manage than two part-timers.  Yes, our masters of the universe would love to believe that workers are just interchangeable cogs, but that's not how it is, even at relatively simple jobs.

    I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

    by Russycle on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:37:53 AM PST

  •  No shit (0+ / 0-)
    "What that taught us is that our restaurants perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved," he said.
    What a tool belt. He might have just asked his employees their answer to that question.

    Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

    by trevzb on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:17:25 AM PST

  •  Corpspeak Translation (0+ / 0-)

    "Beyond the first year of the regulation, however, the company said it still needs to see how costs and other factors play out to determine what its workforce will look like in following years."

    Translation:

    We're still planning on doing it, but are waiting until this all blows over and will do it when no one is looking.

  •  I feel awful (0+ / 0-)

    The damage is done.  I will not patronize either of these establishments again and I will encoiurage friends and relatives to avoid them as well.

    To bad, I really like Red Lobster.

  •  Let me just throw out a silly idea here.... (0+ / 0-)

    I want to protest how these restaurant workers are treated, but boycotts would hurt employees there more than help, at least over the short run.  So, is it possible or worthwhile to show disdain for management and support of workers at these places by the following?

    Go to, say, Olive Garden.  Pick a "loss leader" -  let's say their soup and/or salad option, of which both are "endless," or are supposed to be.  Order nothing else, and make sure your server gets at least a 30% tip or $5, whichever would be larger.

    I'm flexible about this, even being told it's a bad idea, as long as you provide some cogent reasons.

    Opinions?

    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

    by Palamedes on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:25:20 AM PST

    •  nothing wrong with a boycott (0+ / 0-)

      Presumably you'll be spending your money at places that treat their employees decently, allowing them to expand, hire more well-treated employees, etc.  I assume you don't have a limitless supply of money, so you can support either businesses that treat their employees well or those that don't.  It's not a hard choice, really.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:05:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And what about the employees there? (0+ / 0-)

        A boycott gives the owner reason to fire and/or degrade further existing rights of employees already on premises - note that in reaction to the present downturn, they're taking away a portion of the total salary earned by bartenders at Olive Garden.

        As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

        by Palamedes on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:44:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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