John Schnatter, the CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.
And Schnatter bluntly warned his employees: When the Act took effect, Papa John’s Pizza would change in two ways.
First, it would be forced to do something it hadn’t done since its founding in 1984: Offer healthcare coverage to its 16,5000 employees or pay a penalty to the government.
Second, it would raise the prices of its pizzas.
How high would they go up?
By as much as eleven to fourteen cents price increase per pizza, or fifteen to twenty cents per order!
And Schnatter made it clear: He wasn’t going to take this lying down. He was determined to pass along those costs to his customers.
“If Obamacare is in fact not repealed,” Schnatter told Politico, “we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests.”
After all, why should a multi-million-dollar company show any concern for those who make its profits a reality?
- Papa John’s is the third-largest pizza takeout and delivery chain in the United States.
- Its full year 2014 revenues were $1.60 billion, an increase of 11.1% from 2013 revenues of $1.44 billion.
- Its full year 2014 net income was $73.3 million, compared to 2013 net income of $69.5 million.
Nor should anyone expect Schnatter to take a pay cut, just so his employees can obtain medical care when they need it.
Schnatter’s total calculated compensation for 2014 came to $3,456,146.
“We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry,” Schnatter–a supporter of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney–admitted in a 2012 interview with Politico.
To demonstrate his opposition to providing medical insurance for all Americans, Schnatter hosted a fundraising event for Mitt Romney at his own Louisville, Kentucky mansion in May, 2012.
The luxurious setting for the fundraiser gave Romney a rush of pure, plutocratic ecstasy.
“What a home this is,” gushed Romney. “What grounds these are, the pool, the golf course.
“You know, if a Democrat were here he’d look around and say no one should live like this. Republicans come here and say everyone should live like this.”
John Schnatter’s estate
Of course, Romney conveniently ignored a brutally ugly fact:
For the vast majority of Papa John’s minimum-wage-earning employees–many of them working only part-time–the odds of their owning a comparable estate are non-existent.
In a typical demonstration of corporate thinking, Judy Nichols, a Papa John’s franchise owner in Beaumont, Texas, said:
“I have two options, I can stop offering coverage and pay the $2,000 fine, or I could keep my number of staff under 50 so the mandate doesn’t apply,” she told Legal Newsline.
In short: Defy the law, and employee helathcare needs be damned.
In fact, that’s exactly what Schnatter announced he would do: Reduce his workers’ hours–since Obamacare mandates that only employees working more than 30 hours per week are covered under their employers’ health insurance plan.
Nichols claimed that the the law might cost her $20,000 to $30,000 in taxes: “Obamacare is making me think about cutting jobs instead,” she said.
Translation: If you force me to behave responsibly, I’ll just have to take it out on millions of willing-to-work Americans.
So how can America cope with behavior that destroys not only lives but the economy as well?
By passing–and vigorously enforcing–a nationwide Employers Responsibility Act.
Among its provisions:
Employers would be required to provide full medical and pension benefits for all employees, regardless of their full-time or part-time status.
Increasingly, employers are replacing full-time workers with part-time ones—solely to avoid paying medical and pension benefits.
Requiring employers to act humanely and responsibly toward all their employees would encourage them to provide full-time positions—and hasten the death of this greed-based practice.
The seeking of “economic incentives” by companies in return for moving to or remaining in cities/states would be strictly forbidden.
Such “economic incentives” usually:
- allow employers to ignore existing laws protecting employees from unsafe working conditions;
- allow employers to ignore existing laws protecting the environment;
- allow employers to pay their employees the lowest acceptable wages, in return for the “privilege” of working at these companies; and/or
- allow employers to pay little or no business taxes, at the expense of communities who are required to make up for lost tax revenues.
Employers who continue to make such overtures would be prosecuted for attempted bribery or extortion:
- Bribery, if they offered to move to a city/state in return for “economic incentives,” or
- Extortion, if they threatened to move their companies from a city/state if they did not receive such “economic incentives.”
- protect employees against artificially-depressed wages and unsafe working conditions;
- protect the environment in which these employees live; and
- protect cities/states from being pitted against one another at the expense of their economic prosperity.
It’s past time for America to protect employees who work for a living from CEOs who simply take credit for the work those employees do.