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View Diary: Now It's Staples: Treating Their Workers Like Dirt. Plus Bonus Union Busting Protest Pics! (33 comments)

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  •  This is the fault of the administration and those (6+ / 0-)

    who wrote the bill.

    This is what they said:  If an employee works 29 hours, each hour costs the employer $x.  But if that employee works one more hour, that one more hour makes each and every one of the prior 29 hours significantly more expensive for the employer.  

    When you write that clear, clear, financial incentive into a bill, what do you EXPECT businesses to do?

    It's really disingenuous to write a clear, significant financial incentive for business to keep part time workers under 30 hours, and then to say, "What?  businesses are keeping their part time workers under 30 hours?  I'm shocked, shocked!"

    Here's the deal:  when you write a law, you are supposed to understand the most likely consequences of the law.  You can't provide a clear financial incentive for business, and then say, I didn't expect business would do what we gave them a clear financial incentive to do!!

    When you write a law, you are responsible for the consequences of the law -- both the intended consequences, AND the unintended consequences.  

    If business is cutting hours to make sure they stay under the 30 hours, that's the fault of those who wrote the law.  Anyone who's ever, ever, ever run a business could clearly see what was going to happen as soon as that was written into the law.  Sure there may be some businesses who simply suck up the extra costs and pass it on to customers.  But it would be ludicrous to expect all businesses -- especially a business like Staples that operates on a "low prices" business model -- to do that.  You had to expect that a lot of businesses were going to do exactly what Staples, and other businesses are doing.  

    •  But the employer mandate is on hold for a year... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, MyLifeInKenya

      ...so that shouldn't even be an issue right now.

      I personally disagreed with that in the first place. I realize there was a few that companies who provide insurance might choose to dump their employees into the exchanges to save some money for themselves. A better way to remedy this would have been to require companies who already provided insurance to either keep on doing so, or giving their employees the cash or a voucher to buy insurance in the exchanges.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 11:44:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Business plans ahead. That's what they do. (4+ / 0-)

        If they are going to have to move into a different model with respect to how their employees work, you can expect them to start in advance, and work out the kinks, before the law takes effect.  

        So if they have to restructure how they staff their stores, then they are going to start ahead, when they have more leeway about employees working 30 hours.  If they have to have some work 30 hours now, when they aren't penalized for it, that's a better time to work it out than next year, where messing up and having more people work over 30 hours is very costly.

        I would expect to see a lot more of that kind of restructuring of staffing this coming year.

        Businesses aren't going to wait for December 31, 2014 to completely, overnight, change the way they staff things.  

        •  But employee scheduling is much easier (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akeitz, MyLifeInKenya

          to change on short notice than many other things, particularly in retail, where there is much turnover, and employees tend get their work schedule week by week.

          I think they are doing this, simply because they can, and then blame Obama for it.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 12:21:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They know better than you or I (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            how long it will take them to adjust.

            Obviously, nobody in their right mind is going to wait until December 31, 2014.  So, do they do it January 1, April 30, June 30?  When do they start trying new scheduling patterns in anticipation of next year?  They get to make that decision, based on how disruptive they think it will be.

            I think they simply thought that if they are gong to have to make a significant change during 2014, January 1 is the right time to do it.  

            Would people have been any LESS angry if it happened on April 30?  on June 30?  Because it was going to happen some time in 2014 -- and yes, because of the ACA.

            •  It was some months ago that the employer (0+ / 0-)

              mandate was put on hold for a year, and probably will never be enforced, at least not without drastic changes.

              Adjust? This one percent has not adjusted to the fact they've lost the last two Presidential elections.

              This is a power play. They get to show their power, and in a way that just might get some low waged peons mad at the Democrats rather than the one percent.

              Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

              by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 12:34:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So they should rely on the hope that the President (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                changes things again?  

                Sorry, it's stupid for any business to do that.

                And you didn't answer the question -- would people have been not angry if they waited until April 30 or June 30?  

                Because no employer as large as Staples is going to give themselves less than several months to make a big transition like that.

                •  I think they'd be angry either way. (0+ / 0-)

                  Suppose the government offered zero corporate income taxes for next year, and offered it right now, but the corporations had to file the paperwork before the 1st of the year. Are you saying they would all decline it, because they hadn't factored not paying corporate income tax into next year's budget?

                  Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                  by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 12:49:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's just silly. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RhodeIslandAspie, VClib

                    The fact that they CAN in an emergency situation adjust to something if they have to does NOT mean that is what they prefer to do.

                    Any sane business prefers an orderly transition.

                    I'll give you an example we lived. It was really (looking back on it) amazing what we were able to accomplish when our Downtown New Orleans office closed for three months in 2005.  We were able to do it and by makeshift and pulling things together, keep operating until we could return.  Do I WANT to do things that way?  Of course not.  No sane person would.  

                    •  My point exactly. Business can adapt to all sorts (0+ / 0-)

                      of changes when needed. My employer was impacted by the Boston Marathon attack.  Nobody ever wants to have to be in a situation to adapt to something so tragic, but if it happens, they do what they have to do.

                      Dealing with a planned and then delayed employer mandate is not a category 5 hurricane or a deadly terrorist attack. It's coping with a change in government regulations, something businesses do all the time. Businesses can adapt to horrendous disasters when needed, but can't adapt to a change of regulations that they demanded in the first place? This is the one percent wanting to pee on the workers, and then blaming the President.

                      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:11:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Seriously? You are making no sense. (0+ / 0-)

                        Are you really arguing that a business SHOULD wait until the last possible moment to plan for a huge change in the law that directly affects them???? What business management school did you go to?  What business have you ever managed?  I'm not an expert in running a business, but I know that we, as a small business, would NEVER wait until the last minute to plan for, and transition into, a big change.  I can't imagine a huge business like Staples waiting until the last minute.  

                        In fact, they SHOULD do just the opposite.  They should plan out how many months it will take to make sure they have transitioned to a different staffing structure, and then add a couple of months in case something unforeseen happens.  Suppose they cut hours and a lot of experienced people quit?  They need time to adjust -- to reach the correct (for them) balance between full time and part time people.  Suppose employees become less reliable when you are only giving them 25 hours a week, and the absentee rate is much higher?  Suppose you find yourself understaffed at certain stores or at certain times?  Are you seriously arguing that they should wait until the last minute -- when they don't have time to adjust -- to find out all those kinds of things?  And to change their staffing model, and try that, to see if it works?  If, by January 1, 2014, you want to have found the right staffing model, the right blend of part time/full time employees, when do YOU suggest they start those experiments?  

                        If you have the time to plan, and to gradually transition, and you DON'T do that, that's almost per se mismanagement.  Even if things go well, that's mismanagement.  If things do NOT go well, it will be management's fault.  

                        •  OK, what would you suggest, then? (0+ / 0-)

                          Backing off on the mandate wasn't enough. Maybe we could lower the minimum wage, or even get rid of it? Cut taxes for the rich. Let's get rid of the ACA while we are at it.

                          And I suppose the ACA is the reason why Staples is raiding  post office jobs. This mandate that has been delayed and will probably never be enforced has shaken the stability of Staples so badly, that they need to find an additional revenue stream.

                          There is a class war, and only one side is fighting it. Which side are you on, coffeetalk?

                          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:39:14 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Who is advocating any of those things? (0+ / 0-)

                            Certainly not me.

                            All I am saying is that when you pass a law, you are responsible for all of the consequences -- both intended AND unintended.  Sure the administration did not INTEND for business to keep part time employees under 30 hours -- but anyone who has ever operated a business could see that, for a lot of businesses, that would be the result.  It's a matter of pure economics.  Just like anyone can see that if you are a small business with, say, 48 or 49 employees, who doesn't presently offer health insurance, there's no way on earth you will hire that 50th employee -- because by doing so, you make the other 49 each more expensive.

                            All I am saying is that the Administration obviously (unless they were idiots, which I don't think they are) realized this was going to be a consequence.  So sure, even though they didn't intend it, they get the blame.  They hoped, I am sure, that the benefits to some of the ACA would outweigh the clear downside that others (like Staples part-timers) would suffer as a result of the ACA.  

                            If you take credit for the good things that result because of the ACA, you have to take the blame for the bad things.  Your goal is to make sure that, as a whole,  the good (the "winners") greatly outweighs the bad (the "losers") under the ACA.  

                            Of course, that's little comfort to the "losers."  

                          •  And we both agree (0+ / 0-)

                            that the employer mandate was a bad idea. We can blame the Wal-Mart is Satan people for the this mandate. I don't like Wal-Mart, but using the ACA to get back at Wal-Mart was a bad idea.

                            But, the President has backed down, not an easy thing for any President to do, backing down on a provision of his signature accomplishment. So, I say let the corporations back off a bit on their threats, now that they've got what they want.

                            But that's the problem. The plutocrats are never satisfied. Remember the video of Staple's father, Romney speaking to the his fellow plutocrats. Remember the mocking tone of voice about those people who think they have a right to decent health care.

                            I used to be a Paul Tsongas type pro-corporate Democrat, but I've learned the more you feed the monster, the hungrier it gets.

                            Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                            by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:04:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, he didn't "back down." He only delayed (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RhodeIslandAspie

                            the employer mandate.  He did not in any way, shape or form tell businesses that there would be no employer mandate.  He only said they had more time to get ready for it.

                            And likewise, employers simply delayed cutting back hours of part time workers.  If he had not delayed the employer mandate, you would have seen a lot of this kind of thing in the summer of 2013.  But as the link says, the WH realized that a lot of companies had their backs against the wall and, by July 2013, weren't going to be ready by January 1, 2014.  That' was the whole point of the delay.

                            Now, you'll see a lot of employers doing that "put off" restructuring during 2014 so that they will be ready on January 1, 2015.  

                            Staples is just a few months ahead of the curve.

                          •  Does anybody believe this mandate will (0+ / 0-)

                            ever be implemented, unless there is changes in the actual mandate by Congress? Nobody wants to see this mandate enforced. We both agree that it was ill conceived. That's pretty close to a guarantee as you can get that it is dead.

                            Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                            by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:04:44 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  RIA - Congress won't do anything (0+ / 0-)

                            and I don't think the President believes he has the authority to simply delay parts of the law indefinitely. Many don't think he has the authority to implement the delays he has already.

                            "let's talk about that"

                            by VClib on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 12:03:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Think about how absurd this explanation is. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk, 6412093

            These cartoonishly evil executives set out to harm their employees for their own twisted amusement? Simply because they can?

            And poor little Obama is just the scape goat they're pinning it on?

            Absolutely no evidence or logic supports this.

            On the other hand, there is a mountain of evidence to support a conclusion that (a) this law is terrible, and (b) fault for that falls squarely on the Obama administration.

            •  But he backed off and gave them what he wanted, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jpmassar

              and they still act as if the mandate exists. I smell agenda here. You think my premise is absurd? Maybe I'd agree with you if we didn't live in a nation where they plutocrats openly sneer at the idea of workers expecting a living wage, and access to decent health care.

              Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

              by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:32:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If he had not "backed off" and delayed for (0+ / 0-)

                a year the employer mandate, this kind of thing would have been happening throughout 2013 instead of 2014, when we'll see a lot more of this.

                We saw some businesses starting to make this kind of transition in 2013, and then, right around mid-year 2013, the President pushed it back a year.  That just means that a lot of businesses could push the transition into 2014.  

                Yes, Staples is doing it a few months earlier than others.  But the White House recognized that the new rules are complex and require a transition period -- which is exactly why they delayed it, because as of July 1, 2013, a lot of business was telling the White House they couldn't be ready on January 1, 2014.  See here.  

                •  I was never for the employer mandate, BTW. (0+ / 0-)

                  But if there were a government regulation that made it difficult to pay executive bonuses, and Obama back enforcement, I'm sure they would find a way to shift gears and pay those bonuses.

                  There were better and cleaner alternatives than the ACA, like a single payer plan. But if they went for a single payer plan, what position do you think the Lords of Corporate America would have taken on that? We don't have to guess, because we do know. A single payer wouldn't have had an mandate on employers to provide health coverage at all, and would have eventually lifted the burden of health care off the employers. But, the one percent would still have opposed this. Corporate personhood is fine, but not personhood for workers.

                  Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                  by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 01:55:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The votes were not there. Not even among (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Valar Morghulis

                    Democrats.  That's the fact.  Single Payer was not going to happen.  It's not like the Administration had a choice between this and single payer.  

                    So the Administration -- and the Democrats -- decided to back this plan. That was their choice. And they passed it solely with Democrats, and with no Republican support whatsoever.  That was also their choice.  So now, they get all the credit for the good it does, as well as all the blame for the harm it does.  The risk they took is that they hope the good will greatly outweigh the bad.

                    •  Once again, we are in agreement. (0+ / 0-)

                      I've had arguments online with people who think the single payer would have been a slam dunk if the progressives had pushed hard enough for it. I agree the ACA represented the compromise of the possible. But my point here is that if there had been enough support for it that it might have passed, most of corporate America would have opposed it on principle.

                      Now, let me go a little further. Suppose corporate America had signaled that didn't want their Republican allies to oppose health care reform across the board, and wanted to them to work with the Democrats to get something as friendly to business as they could. And suppose that these corporations were quite willing to accept the ACA without that corporate mandate. With the corporate acceptance of health reform, more than a few Republicans come forward and say they are willing to vote for the ACA minus the employer mandate. I guarantee, the Democrats would have dropped the employer mandate to get some Republican votes, even if it were only a fairly small number.

                      I'm saying, that corporations could have easily had a reality today where there was never an employer mandate if they signaled their support for the ACA minus the employer mandate. Corporate America never wanted any sort of meaning health reform.

                      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:38:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  This is a web site about politics. (0+ / 0-)

                Literally every person here has an agenda. Also, I'm fully aware that "I smell an agenda" is a tactic to discredit.

                Anyway, they're acting as if the mandate exists because it does exist. Why are you saying it doesn't? It's only been delayed.

                And you're right, there are tone-deaf people who sneer at the less fortunate. But that's hardly evidence to conclude that all these companies are screwing over employees simply out of meanness.

                •  When I say I smell an agenda, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Valar Morghulis

                  I'm not referring to fellow Kossacks, I'm talking about Staples. I should have been more careful in my wording. Apologies for that.

                  Does anyone really believe this mandate will ever be enforced, at least in its present form? There's is pretty much an agreement that it's a quite flawed. At any rate, it's dead for at least another year.

                  Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

                  by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 02:47:21 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  It's not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpmassar

        it's not about the ACA.  It's about using the leverage they have to create more leverage.

        Employees working 25 hours in few hour segments, taken off the floor/clock when things get slow, hanging out off the clock (helping co-workers illegally) because time between work periods is too short to catch the bus home and back, schedule changes with less than 24 hour notice, written up if they fail to come in same day when store gets busy, terminated for 3 writeups, etc.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 08:38:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But nobody could've predicted... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, jpmassar

      except for everybody that did, but were excluded from the entire process.

      When you're ramming through what will become the biggest corporate welfare trough in the universe, the last thing you want is a bunch of knowledgeable, experienced people interrupting the division of spoils with a bunch of nonsense like what's going to happen.

      Don't worry, I'm sure they'll fix this later...
      {/sarcasm}

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 04:59:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would have been wiser (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RhodeIslandAspie, jpmassar

      to base insurance availability on the number of FTE (full time equivalent) positions a company had after aggregating the hours of part timers to reflect the number of FTE employees, done location by location for companies with multiple locations.

      IE:   If you have 20 employees at a location, working a total of cumulative total of 600 hours per week, you'd have to offer health insurance to 15 of those employees (600/40 = 15).  If one of the 15 didn't accept, you'd offer the slot to the next employee in line - based on a set system, such as seniority or the next employee working the highest average number of hours.

      This would have taken individual employees hours completely out of the equation, or close to it.  It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than the way it is currently worded and leaves less wiggle room.

      I think wording it the way it was worded in the law was either incompetence or purposely done to allow for a loophole.

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