Johnna Davis has worked at the Taco Bell in Guthrie since September. She's seen a 200 dollar cut in her paycheck since a new store policy went into effect.John Aravosis asks and answers a key question: Why are all these restaurant owners making these cuts now when the part of the Affordable Care Act requiring businesses with at least 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance doesn't even kick in until 2014?
"What we were being told was one thing, and that was, ‘we're going to offer benefits, we'll just keep all of our full time employees and then come December, their whole story changed," Johnna Davis said.
She says her manager held a meeting before Christmas, saying employees' hours would be cut in the new year.
"They informed everybody that nobody was considered full-time any longer, that everybody was now considered part-time, and [they] would be cutting hours back to 28 hours or less due to Obamacare," Davis said.
Under the Affordable Care Act, companies are required to provide insurance to its full-time employees, or face fines. Davis would've qualified for an insurance plan.
The more these big brands like Wendy’s and Taco Bell strike out against their blue collar employees supposedly because of an Obamacare provision that reportedly doesn’t even apply to them yet, the more it sounds like these are Republican companies simply trying to save money by making a political statement about a Democratic program and Democratic President they don’t like.Exactly. This isn't really about how much it would cost—as we've discussed, the price increases resulting from restaurants insuring their workers would be very small even if the restaurants passed along the full cost to customers. And while it will doubtless take some managers time to get keeping every worker under 30 hours of work every week down to a science, they don't need a full year of practice. No, the post-election wave of Darden and Papa John's and Denny's and Wendy's and Taco Bell executives and franchise owners announcing the punitive measures they'd be taking against workers because of Obamacare isn't some kind of coincidence or marker of how much planning and hard work it takes to keep low-wage workers poor. It's a political move, a statement of how important it is to the restaurant industry to keep wages and benefits rock bottom.
Aravosis also notes that "There are employees at Taco Bell and Wendy’s who are touching our food and who don’t have adequate health insurance, and thus adequate health care? And they’re touching our food." Well, yes. Also, 90 percent of food service workers don't have paid sick leave. So unless you live in one of the few cities or the one state that have mandated paid sick leave, then absolutely. Sick workers are touching your food, because they have no choice if they want to pay the rent.