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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Jan 9, 2013 3:31PM

These employers are raking in profits and sharing very little with the people who made the profits in the first place.  Wendy's owners are lining their pockets while depriving their employees basic benefits.


Guess where I will no longer be stopping for lunch. Running a business and robbing your employees the basic dignity of a living wage and benefits should be a crime.  Here is my wish:  that these fat cat owners end up on unemployment!

Jan 9, 2013 3:31PM

Ok, I'm a Republican. To fix out of control healthcare costs, give people an incentive to take care of themselves. Get the flu, sucks. Get out a blanket, Vitamin C, Zinc, and a few good movies. How about health insurance that advocates gym memberships? Until you kill the Cheetoes and Diet Coke, we will still be fat and over medicated.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



The Republican fix, LOL.

Jan 9, 2013 3:30PM

I wonder how many of these employees voted for Obama?  Like I "tried to" reason with my daughter's boyfriend.....ask your small business owner who he is voting for because you don't want to vote for someone who ultimately will have a negative impact on your employment (i.e., getting laid-off).  So much for good reasoning skills. 

Jan 9, 2013 3:29PM
The clown in chief is destroying this great land
Jan 9, 2013 3:29PM
These companies don't pay their employees very much.  WalMart's prices stay fairly low and they provide health insurance.
     Again - Enough about the ObamaCare issue.  Romney's healthcare in Massachusetts wasn't any better.  Plus, Romney's plan was subsidized 62% by the Federal government and had no benefits for those with existing health conditions.
    In our state, Blue/Cross Blue/Shield has gone up 24% in one year.  You think Wendy's has problems covering for ObamaCare?  Think again - think for yourself - quit letting Bill Cunningham and Michael Savage be your only source of political information.

Jan 9, 2013 3:28PM
That is it for me on Wendy's. I refuse to buy anything that place sells. Wendy's raised their prices, food didn't get any better, their places are still dirty and their workers don't give a dam.
Jan 9, 2013 3:25PM
The only employers that will be effected at all are the ones that were not doing the right thing in the first place.  So your busted.  Go out of business and go work for someone smarter who is able to do the right thing.  We won't miss you at all.  Also, Wendy's and Papa Johns are contributing to the healthcare crisis with their products anyways.  When you are gone, some brilliant person will come along to provide quick and healthy food and also provide healthcare to their employees.
Jan 9, 2013 3:20PM



So the rich brat owners won't be able to buy their girlfriends and wives more diamonds


They should move their companies to Mexico or the Mormon planet of Kolob 

Jan 9, 2013 3:19PM
These companies need to suck it up and give their employees benefits.  These CEO's are millionaires and billionaires but have no compassion for their employees.  Shame on them.
Jan 9, 2013 3:17PM
Massachusetts has had the same basic "obamacare" law in place for years thanks to Romney. And yes we are still here, employed, and staying profitable.  And no,  the sky hasn't fallen yet.
Jan 9, 2013 3:16PM
should have seen this comung, but I have a legit question I havent herd the answer to yet. they just hav eot offer insurance correct?? there is no minimum percentage that the employer has to pay correct??
Jan 9, 2013 3:16PM
These multi million dollar companies are worried they are going to lose less than a half a percent of there profit. The Companies are concerned about there CEO's getting there bonus, than the health of there employees. This is why the Country needs Obama care. The rich keeps getting richer.......
Jan 9, 2013 3:15PM

Maybe the morons that voted for Obama will relise now how bad Obamacare is and what a disaster it is going to cause.

Jan 9, 2013 3:15PM
I like an occational burger and fries once and a while. I have always thought Wendy's had a little better quality and choice above McDonalds or Buger King, I will NEVER buy another Wendy's product, INSTEAD of a big, mutli national companym, 3rd largest behind McDonalds' and Burger King, profitable and successful, AND a sponsor of adoption under its late owner Dave, IT WOULD RATHER DOWN PAY ITS EMPLOYEES rather than FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THEM HEALTH CARE. IF they don't ahve coverage, where do they go? To the free (other tax payers pay for) health coverage. This is NOT a small, mom and pop company. This is a huge, successful, profitable international company, Mitt Romney and his billions located in a bank in the Cayman  islands, would be proud. No more Wendy's for me. EVEN IF the others are the same. Becasue IF everything is the same AND I still want to spend my money, I'll give it to someone else.
Jan 9, 2013 3:14PM

If you think these small business owners are suffering I suggest you look at where and how they live.

Jan 9, 2013 3:14PM

Funny I didn't hear any plan from the Republicans on how to fix the out of control healthcare cost.


Oh that's right they've become the piss and moan party.




Jan 9, 2013 3:13PM
Great job liberals! Now more employees suffer because of your bs forced insurance laws! More unemployment filings cause employees cant pay bills, placing more financial strain on the govt. More companies will have to limit their growth (which means less job development) so they wont get bankrupted by "Obamacrap"!  It may be good for a while but what will happen in 10 years when our credit rating falls even more? Liberals think that there is an unlimited supply of money available, but guess what, there isnt!  Liberals are destroying our country people!!!!!!!!!!!
Jan 9, 2013 3:12PM
Every president Republican and Democrat has wanted a national health care plan for generations, we finally have one, if you don't like Obama fine, but don't screw around with a health plan we wanted and needed.  Any of these companys that try to punish their employees because their costs have increased are going to find they will have a lot of empty seats in their facility, it has already started to happen.
Jan 9, 2013 3:11PM

Greed Greed Greed!!!


Profits can never be high enough, employees can just kiss the back side of the owners, because it is all about the spreadsheet and the bottom line. I will never eat another Wendy's burger again until they get to work with helping their employees instead of giving them the shaft. The same goes for Papa Johns and others. 


It is getting very clear about Corporate America; as to what they think of their employees. What a country! So this is what we think of each other now, how much are you worth to me?


I have 14 employees and I am working on a way to see that they are covered under the Care Act. If I had 200 I would be doing the same. See my employees are the backbone of my company when they do well and are happy the company performs better and my customers are happy. Hence I am doing well; not making Billon Dollars yet, but I make a decent living. When the economy gets better my company will get better, and when my company gets better my employees will benefit and I will benefit as well. I am an American and I care about all Americans. How can you be an American when all you care about is money? How sad is that when money is the only thing that motivates your thinking?  



Jan 9, 2013 3:10PM

Add another to the boycott list.

1. Papa John's

2. Wendys



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