Despite the administration’s controversial decision to delay forcing companies to join Obamacare for a year, three-quarters of small businesses are still making plans to duck the costly law by firing workers, reducing hours of full-time staff, or shift many to part-time, according to a sobering survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses expect the requirement to negatively impact their employees. Twenty-seven percent say they will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24 percent will reduce hiring, and 23 percent plan to replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate,” said the Chamber business survey provided to Secrets.
Under Obamacare, just 30 hours — not the nationally recognized 40 hours — is considered full-time. Companies with 50 full-time workers or more are required to provide health care, or pay a fine.
Other key findings from the Chamber survey:
— 77 percent continue to think the U.S. economy is on the wrong track. However, small businesses are more optimistic about their local economy and individual business.
— The majority (61 percent) of small businesses do not have plans to hire next year.
— Concerns about regulation have increased significantly from 35 percent last quarter to 42 percent now. Small businesses are looking for leadership on issues that will remove barriers and encourage growth.
— 88 percent of all small businesses support addressing entitlement spending to resolve America’s growing financial challenges and escalating debt.
— 83 percent support congressional efforts to reform the tax code — with the majority focusing on making it less complex.
— 81 percent of small businesses surveyed believe the immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed.
— In contrast to the president’s recent speech pushing new energy regulations, 90 percent of small businesses support easing EPA regulations and opening up more federal lands for drilling.
Labor unions are among the key institutions responsible for the passage of Obamacare. They spent tons of money electing Democrats to Congress in 2006 and 2008, and fought hard to push the health law through the legislature in 2009 and 2010. But now, unions are waking up to the fact that Obamacare is heavily disruptive to the health benefits of their members.
Last Thursday, representatives of three of the nation’s largest unions fired off a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, warning that Obamacare would “shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”
The letter was penned by James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Joseph Hansen, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; and Donald “D.” Taylor, president of UNITE-HERE, a union representing hotel, airport, food service, gaming, and textile workers.
“When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act,” they begin, “you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat…We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision. Now this vision has come back to haunt us.”
What surprises me about this is that union leaders are pretty strategic when it comes to employee benefits. It was obvious in 2009 that Obamacare’s employer mandate would incentivize this shift. Why didn’t labor unions fight it back then?
One of Democrats’ most traditionally loyal and vociferous factions of support, Big Labor is most upset about the law they for which they very proactively helped to shore up support and make sure stayed in place.
The usually solid benefits and health care options, for instance, are traditionally some of the biggest attractions for even being in a union in the first place; but with ObamaCare mucking up their multi-employer health plan system and with employers moving to part-time employees right and left, unions are now in an outraged and yet entirely predictable panic:
The first union grievance is that the employer mandate is leading business to hold worker hours below 30 hours a week to comply with the Administration’s regulatory definition. Despite the one-year suspension of the mandate, many businesses that must provide insurance or pay a penalty are shifting to part-time labor, and the union chiefs explain that “fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.” Nice to know Mr. Hoffa is reading these columns.
The unions are also aggrieved because they have failed to gain special subsidies for the multi-employer health insurance plans allowed under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. The White House had no legal authority to grant such a request, so refusing to do so for a major political patron showed unusual restraint. …
What Mr. Hoffa and the other union reps don’t mention amid their cold sweats is that less employer-provided insurance means less of a role for unions as middle men in contract negotiations….
Via Real Clear Politics:
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: It is true, they supported the bill, they supported the administration, they helped elect it, had the boots on the ground and they were swindled, but it isn’t as if they weren’t warned. People who looked at the bill said the way it is constructed, there’s this huge incentive for any business, small business, to drop the number of employees under 50, the firms are now known as the 49ers, so people get fired as a way to get under the requirement of employer mandate.
It also means that a lot of full time employees are going to lose at least ten hours of work, they have to get under 30 hours. So, if you’re a full-time worker now, you’re not going to be able to support a family on part time income. But the worst is as you indicated, that they’re going to lose their members. The glory of the union movement is that beginning in the second World War when there were wage and price controls, companies competed against each other by including health care in the package. That was the beginning of that. And that’s one of the great achievements of unions.
Now what they’re seeing is workers are looking at the exchanges and seeing, ‘I can drop out of the employer plan, I get a huge subsidy, I come out ahead, and don’t have to be a member of the union.’ So this is a disaster for the unions and that’s why you have this letter of desperation and disappointment. (Special Report, July 17, 2013)