Wendy’s franchise cuts hours to avoid Obamacare

The action is the latest in a series of challenges against next year's implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

By Bruce Kennedy Jan 9, 2013 10:13AM

Doctor sitting in office with patient talking and smiling -- Paul Bradbury, OJO Images, Getty ImagesThe small-business backlash against Obamacare continues. A Wendy’s fast-food franchise in Nebraska is cutting the hours of non-management employees so its owners won't be required to pay health benefits.

The local franchise vice president in Omaha tells WOWT-TV the cuts are coming in several weeks’ time because he cannot afford to pay health insurance for all his employees.

Starting next year the U.S. Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer full-time workers "minimum essential" healthcare coverage. The Act defines a full-time employee as someone who works at least 30 hours a week.

As a result, about 100 Wendy’s workers in Omaha have been told their hours are being cut.

"It has a huge effect on me and pretty much everybody that I work with," T.J. Growbeck, who currently works 36 to 37 hours a week at the restaurant, told WOWT. "I'm hoping that I can get some sort of promotion because then I would get my hours, but everybody is shooting for that because of the hours being cut."

Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch told the Huffington Post the decision was being made at the franchise level.

"Our franchisees are independent businesspeople, and they make the decisions regarding their restaurant teams," he said. "As small-business employers, our franchisees are facing rising food and operating costs and many new government regulations."

While Wendy’s says the hours-cutting action by its Omaha franchise is not "a company decision," several major restaurant chains have been very vocal in their criticism of Obamacare.

A case in point: Papa John's (PZZA) CEO John Schnatter said the Affordable Care Act would cost his company up to $8 million a year, which would force him to increase product costs and cut workers’ hours.

Other restaurant franchises, meanwhile, are also looking at options ahead of Obamacare. John Rigos, owner of a Five Guys franchise in New York City, told CBS News the new regulations will affect hiring policies at his restaurants. 

"It'll probably have to reduce the staff to some degree," he said, "and again, focus on building [a] smaller stronger team rather than being as aggressive in opening up new stores and creating new jobs."

Rigos said while he "absolutely" supports Obamacare, he still finds it challenging.

"There's 25,000 restaurants within the New York City market we're competing against," he notes, "so it's not like we have surplus profits that we could just earmark a portion of them to go toward these types of initiatives."

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Nov 1, 2013 9:49PM
You rich bastards need to see how the poor can survive on $8.05/hour and 24 hrs a week the WinnDixie opted to begin giving their Employees. That speaks volumes of what they think of their employees. To all of these companies that have jumped on the bandwagon to deny their people a living just to save a few bucks , shame on you!!!! How do you think you have a business? Those same said employees you would treat worse than the pet at home. To those who would say 'that's why I still have a business' , I say bull!!!! You have a business because these same said employees you treat so badly, have busted there asses to keep it for you. We, with the rest of the world, whom already care about their working poor, are watching the greatest Country in the world, that I may add affords you wealthy cheapskates a business in the first place, complain about giving a basic human right you already receive. Stick that in your craw and choke on it. That would be the least  that you all deserve.
Mar 7, 2013 9:31AM
This may sound radical. The Ceo's of these big businesses need to be jailed 5 years , hard time. no federal golf course. What they will do (fast food) and already do. Is use illegals off the books to do  non customer service rolls. This is sad. Corrupt politicians and businessmen need to be punished. Even strip them of USA Citizenship and drop them naked in Mexico. Something.
Feb 7, 2013 11:01AM
Im a manager at wendys in Vandalia, il and yes we are cutting everyone down to 29 hours to avoid paying healthcare. but keep in mind most people are not even offer healthcare until they work over 40 hours so it still doesn't affect them and most are on medical card because you cant survive on 8.50 an hour plus taking an extra 2% this year. so none of this is shocking to me or anyone who works in a franchise store. we are not real people anyway we are just the lower class scum who doesn't deserve a real life, right?
Feb 6, 2013 3:43PM
This tying healthcare with jobs is ridiculous.  This started after WWII to entice workers to companies as the labor pool was tight.  It's outdated.  A person may make their living in any number of ways and shouldn't have to be thinking about health insurance when doing this.  They are separate.  Maybe I can get by with less than a full time job, but to get insurance I have to put in a 30-40 hour week.  Always talking about freedom, well where's mine under these circumstances.  This country can never take a lesson from other countries who have their acts together.  American Exceptionalism, really gets sickening.  Country is in the dumper on so many fronts - it's a shame too, when the answers are right in our hands, but politics gets in the way. Companies are doing their weasel dance - we'll have to close our doors if we have to provide insurance.  GO AHEAD - just see how they manage to stay open.  That's an old violin they're playing.
Feb 6, 2013 12:58PM

There is no utopia.  There is a cost to everything.


"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themseves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it"

(Frederic Bastiat 1848)

Feb 6, 2013 11:59AM
i love it...its about time people have to cover their own health care costs...i'm sick of always doing the right thing with car and health ins. and others get $ 5,000-6,000 tax return and go to ER for every little thing and we pay for their costs because they don't want to pay for ins. have more kids so u can get a bigger return now part of that will cover  health care costs. people that work in the ER call them frequent flyers and at tax return time u will see them at walmart loading up on big screen TVs and Iphones....
Jan 20, 2013 10:45PM
Hey Goatman247,
Your bucket has a bunch of holes in it. The cause of the financial crisis was de-regulation which allowed banks to do business in ways they had never done before. It turned into a free fall as the banks started getting into derivatives , stock, money exchange , buying and selling deals they had no experience with and other investments that regulation had previously kept them out of. Then via greed , because too much ain't enough , they begin to modify the way they structured home loans including 0% down , deferred interest , loose or no back ground checks , as well as giving money to people that did not qualify and could not make good on their bank note . 
This combined with a long time trend of business going overseas to escape the country that allowed their start in the first place because then they could make more by taking advantage of a labor pool that was poor and had no say all helped in the crash .
The  perfect storm , nobody watching the cookie jar and people losing jobs to out sourcing combined with growing competition from low priced goods from other countries . This does not even include all the tax cheats or firms like Mitt Romney's group and others like his who bought struggling companies , closed the doors and then broke the companies up to make a profit for a select few who could to get a chair at the table .
I feel sorry for you living in that little world you have constructed . Perhaps that is why you are so unhappy . Visit reality sometime and watch that negative shadow that shapes your delusional thoughts disappear . Otherwise , climb back into your bunker and do some reading and stop being such a poor loser , the people voted and you lost . Get over it !

Jan 19, 2013 9:23PM
I would be willing to bet that not one person on this blog has even read 10% of the Obama Care law. There wasn't a single politician that said they had read the whole thing before voting. Wait and see if this thing doesn't blow up in everyones face. Every time the lib govt. feels sorry for those poop poor citizens and starts sharing the wealth they don't have, things wind up in a nightmare. Just like Barney Frank and the Democrat Congress when they decided loan institutions needed to give home loans to poor people. End result Housing bust,financial bust, country turned upside down. Then O'bumma wants to keep these same poor people from being foreclosed on??? Kick them out!!! build govt. shelters!!!
Jan 14, 2013 9:16PM
I have a solution..
Cut all spending by denying federal anything to anyone. 
Dont give any money to the poor and don't give any to the rich.
Grow a pair, and tell sick starving people too bad, you should have worked harder in life and you should have been more important to our economy (not fascist at all according to most posters here), but also, use that same pair to tell corporations to go out earn their own money, just like their leaders tell everyone else to do.
If we did this, then the government could spend all the money on defense, and not have to get bogged down with helping people or businesses.  
The poor would immediately suffer, but the effects of the end of handouts would neutralize when they either go back to work or dies off. 
The biggest amount of suffering would come from the private companies, who would see the R&D grants dry up.  They would have to start paying their educated people exorbitant salaries as only a select few would be able to afford college with no federal help.  They would be helpless when it came to updating infrastructure for their plants, and they would not be able to move their supplies as bridges and roads crumble from neglect.

Jan 11, 2013 5:20AM
Dear jdmech, You sound like a mad 5th grader in a class you don't like. Perhaps you should visit a website called FACTCHECK.ORG. or even better seek professional help for your anger , why are you guys such poor losers ? I'm sorry, maybe someone kicked your puppy, or perhaps you realize that you are less of apolitical party and more of a vanishing species with each passing day.
Friends Always, Radar
Jan 11, 2013 3:02AM
14 hours ago  Goatman247 posted the following :
Juno, Your full of **** we would be glad for you to move to those fantasy countries. Try getting in to see a doctor the same day you need one. Try getting long term healthcare in Canada. Dumba$$

I tried to reply to him, but there was "a problem creating posts", so now I simply start a new one.

Here is my answer to Goatman247 :    (I would be amused if I ever hear from him again)

Goatman,    thanks for your compliment.  You sound like a real educated world traveller who probably never stuck his nose out  of our USA.

Because of sport injuries and illness I had to go to emergency rooms in Switzerland, Germany and Canada with follow-up care.  In all three cases  I was seen immediately and taken care of before I was even asked for personal and financial information !!
Try that in hospitals in our USA !     And who is the "Dumba$$"  (your quote) ?

If you can read and digest the following article which was published just yesterday by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, you might learn something.
Here is the link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/health/americans-under-50-fare-poorly-on-health-measures-new-report-says.html?ref=nationalresearchcouncil&_r=0

Just in case you have a short attention span, here is an important paragraph which is near the end of the report :

The panel sought to explain the poor performance. It noted the United States has a highly fragmented health care system, with limited primary care resources and a large uninsured population. It has the highest rates of poverty among the countries studied.

Education also played a role. Americans who have not graduated from high school die from diabetes at three times the rate of those with some college, Dr. Woolf said. In the other countries, more generous social safety nets buffer families from the health consequences of poverty, the report said.

Jan 10, 2013 8:56PM
you're on your own folks...gov't is here to take all it can to pay for their life style, not yours. Give your tax $$$ to them who will keep them in office... even when a 2 year term will pay them a retirement for the rest of their life... no ssan for them... no O'Bubbacare...no sexual harrassement laws...NOPE... "EXEMPT THE ELITE". That is what you voted for!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 10, 2013 7:22PM
I know this President is working and doing right for all of us. This country would be a whole lot better without the tea party congress and would work for the people instead of saying no to everything the President wants to do. They are not doing what is right for the country.
Jan 10, 2013 7:16PM
You can afford to invest tens of millions of dollars in an established brand but you can not invest 5 to 8 million in your most valuable resource? Marketing increases market share and profit. Your employees insure that you continue to have a business in which to market. 
Jan 10, 2013 5:57PM
If the business has the right to deny health insurance and the employee has the right to deny health insurance who pays the bill when uninsured goes to the hospital, haha? 
Jan 10, 2013 5:54PM

.why should business provide health insurance at all? they don't provide clothes or groceries, you use the money you are paid and buy your own. so why don't you just buy your own health insurance?

Jan 10, 2013 5:48PM
Today's democrat only cares "What their country can do for them, NOT what they can do for their country", that has been replaced by "GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, YOU OWE ME".
Jan 10, 2013 5:32PM

This is nothing new in retail and food industry. It has nothing to do with Obamacare. They always find a reason to cut corner at lower level. When you go close to 39 hrs. per week they will send you home so they don't have to pay overtime. During holiday or long week end they change your schedule and give less hour during week days and more hours in weekend. 

Jan 10, 2013 5:26PM
A history lesson,

The fast food industry is work for KIDS, always meant to be part time and healthcare free because they are kids who are covered by daddy's insurance, which is why American kids can not find employment ...........  but your messiah and you insist that illegals are owed a life supported by NOT Americans, but 53% of Americans, so many mildly skillful jobs and completely unskilled jobs are YOUR GIFT TO ILLEGAL ALIENS, so,  congratulations on your humanity and charity ........... IF YOU EVER PAID FEDERAL TAXES, if not congratulations on porking yourself!

Think clearly, what would 12-20 million more jobs for Americans that don't send that money out of the country do FOR YOUR NATION?

Jan 10, 2013 5:25PM
I do not see it as business or employee rights, I see it simply as fairness and even cost effectiveness. 
When a business is able to skip on health insurance the rest of us pay the cost, because their employees get sick and either drain the local MedicAid programs or simply do not pay the hospitals and the hospitals charge us more. Not to mention the other factors like that the ERs are being used to get the care and that due to the lack of long term care their condition can stay the same or worsen, making their visits more often and the likelihood of them depending on disability programs increases. 

The law has a lot of issues and hopefully will be refined but is a step in the right direction. 
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