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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1965Comments
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 Well  thank the  93% of the blacks  who  voted  him  back in    FOR THE FREE  HEALTH CARE 
Jan 9, 2013 5:27PM
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It is so screwed up. My wife and I are spending all we want on Credit. Our lives will over sometime soon, Due too old age. I feel sorry for the young people that will never get to Know America. I do NOT feel sorry for the bank we Will stiff with Debt. You voted for IDIOT  now live with it HELLO BELIZE

Jan 9, 2013 5:27PM
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But wait, there's more!  This is just the tip of the iceberg for what Obamacare is REALLY going to cost all of us.  There are many future bomblets buried in Obamacare.  For instance, did you know that every employer will have to pay the Federal government at least $63 per year per employee, starting in 2014 and going through at least 2016 to provide funding for those with pre-existing conditions?  Just another redistribution of wealth as our president wanted.  Just wait until you see what the unemployment numbers are going to be a year from now.  You voted for him, now we all have to live with him. 
Jan 9, 2013 5:26PM
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Democrats are too stupid to understand that their regulation doesn't happen in a vacuum. The people running businesses are smarter than they are and  usually figure out how to avoid the dem's expected outcome. How many of you readers on here had your healthcare costs go down? Have better coverage?
Jan 9, 2013 5:25PM
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To all these so called business men/women (Wendys, etc), why don't you guys leave this country and try making money elsewhere in the world! You will then realize what a true great country ours is, and why you should respect US employees and treat them well!! Instead of doing all this cheap level tactics.....
Jan 9, 2013 5:24PM
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The law should not have exempted part time employees.  If they had said every employee irrespective of hours had to be provided healthcare it would have eliminated a lot of this part time work 12 jobs **** that our employers are pushing and instead made less jobs but more full time jobs.  We already have a problem with too many part-time jobs and this will add to it

Jan 9, 2013 5:24PM
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This is what happens when the Dems have no backbone to fight for the right solution which was single payer Medicare for everyone.   They just are not too bright to not reach the conclusion that businesses would fight against it and find loop holes so as not to have to provide healthcare.  Consumers should boycott Wendys for not providing adequate compensation in the form of the right to affordable medical care.
Jan 9, 2013 5:22PM
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Anyone ever see the owner of Papa John's personal palace?  I've seen tons of pictures of it.  It doesn't seem as if he's doing so bad.  Many here have said it...and more who are not looking close enough are complaining about our President.  Here's the deal:  America doesn't manufacture anything anymore.  If you want a decent paying job, then you must have a college degree.  Experience and a diploma just don't cut it anymore.  Higher education is a fortune, which we are forced to either afford, or go into indentured servitude to pay for.  Even franchisees are wealthy.  Do you know how much it costs to purchase a franchise?  More than most people I know have.  You need employees, just like they need the owner.  It is a cooperative relationship.  Not ownership.  Companies used to take pride in employing Americans with families, while pocketing a profit for their own family, just not one in the billions of dollars.  Greed has taken over and now employers of big companies (or companies that want to be big) do not see it as a cooperative effort or their duty as an American to employ Americans and take pride in the fact that they offer benefits to their workers.  Employees are not a dime a dozen.  We are not disposable.  This greed is going to be the downfall of not just the CEO's but of the whole country eventually because no one has any pride in employing Americans, building American products, and providing benefits for American families.  All the billions will not save them when there is no more America.

Jan 9, 2013 5:22PM
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Obama, everyone will have healthcare coverage.  Sure, until it gets too expensive.  This is just the start of it all.  Small business is going to find a way around it and the losers in the whole process will be the people who can least afford it.  Lower hours for people who need the money, and no health care.  Way to go Mr. Obama.
Jan 9, 2013 5:22PM
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The corrupt Republican corporate MONARCHY never quits F**KING the American People, DO THEY????

Hey Pres, NEED TO FIX THIS GLITCH RIGHT NOW! Enough of their UNCONTROLLED CAPITALISTIC GREED!

They call it OBAMACARE, because they KNOW it's the American People's MEDICARE and they don't want to look shabby & corrupt!

Another solution to this pollution is BOYCOTT, STARTING RIGHT NOW!!!

Jan 9, 2013 5:22PM
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These minimum wage earners voted for this. Lets screw the rich businessman and make him pay. So they will go from 37 to 29 hours. That's a 20%+ pay cut and still no insurance. Dumb  Obama voters.

Jan 9, 2013 5:21PM
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The funny thing is..... this is just the beginning, people are going to have to pay dearly for their choices.... the sad thing is.... we are doomed
Jan 9, 2013 5:21PM
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Papa John's alleges the Affordable Car Act will cost the company an additional $8 million per year. Prior to President Obama's reelection CEO John Schnatter committed to "giving away" 2 million "free" pizzas. Assume an average cost of $10.00 per pizza, that will cost him $ 20 million. If you eliminate the profit margin and factor only per unit cost, say $5.00 per pizza, he can still absorb a $10 million hit. Does anyone remember how many free pizzas he gave away last year?
Jan 9, 2013 5:20PM
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talk abt the BACKFIRE OF THE MILLENIUM!!! Now what, this new AHCA is actually going to worsen the economy because noone wants to hire fulltime now because of the cost of healthcare, employers will figure out how to work people PT instead of FT to circumvent this new law. So now, not only will employers NOT cover healthcare but they will lower hours also, which in turn makes it harder for the employee who is also forced to buy insurance with less money.

 

The entire congress needs to be voted out!!! When will we as the majority get this???

Jan 9, 2013 5:20PM
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So here are the options:

1) People who work at Wendy's don't need healthcare.  If they get sick they have choices:
a). File for bankruptsy  and stick the cost of their healthcare to the hospital and medical professionals
b). Not seek medical care and just die (after all, they are disposable people and don't deserve much because they are not hard working, like the Romneys).

2).  Have the taxpayers of the state pay for their healthcare, because the employer must be protected from such expenses. Taxpayers should pay for them so that business can keep more of their profit.

3).  They should buy their own health insurance out of their Wendy's wages.

If these are not reasonable options, and you don't like Obamacare, please do suggest a better solution.  Because when they get sick, someone is going to have to pay for the care.  So who should it be?  

Jan 9, 2013 5:19PM
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its all about government , the more people that depend on the government to live their life, the less that are likley to rise up against the tyranny .
Jan 9, 2013 5:19PM
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Skinger - you are saying that you rewarded your employees. Have you provided them healthcare before? If not, then your providing reward has no meaning. Every industrial country in the world is providing heath care for their citizens. Its a shame that being a richest country, 49 million of their citizens have no heath care. When democrats brought SS and medicare, its the same right wing propoganda that we see now. And the irony is the same people who live in Red states are the most receipients of government benefits who blame government at the top of their voice. Stop watching Faux and Limbaugh.
Jan 9, 2013 5:18PM
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Most of the negative comments on this story are being made by ignorant fools with no comprehension of why the ACA is a step in the right direction. Single payer (Medicare) for all would provide affordable medical coverage for everyone. For profit medical care is unethical, immoral, and fiscally irresponsible. The rich prosper and the rest of us suffer and die because of your pathetic ignorance.

Jan 9, 2013 5:17PM
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Only the beginning you obama lovers

Jan 9, 2013 5:17PM
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George Bush started the process, lets remember the facts. The country seems to be split in half and all of the blame goes to Mr. Obama? Really? I have been reading all of the comments and i disagree with just about all of them. The affordable care act is the right way to go. Only a person with decent health insurance would be against it. My mother worked over 40 hours per week for a company for 8 years who did'nt provide health insurance. Two years ago we found out she had stomach cancer. Once we were able to find a company to offer her insurance it cost 817.00 per month. of course she could'nt afford that so my 3 sisters and I came out of our pockets so she could have decent coverage. How many "real americans" could afford to do that? I agree that the government has to much control but i also agree that the insurance companies have become driven by profit instead of driven by a service to people.
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