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Given recent reporting that Dunkin' Brands (i.e., corporate ownership of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins) has come out as another large, USA-based business which seeks to avoid paying for more healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, I used the Dunkin' Donuts feedback form to send them an explicit statement of my boycott for their business offerings unless and until their Management no longer seeks to resemble 19th century Robber Barons.

They sent me a boilerplate response which offered no business rationale for their counter-ACA actions that I could discern: their position relied on an accounting point with no apparent impact to running Dunkin' Donuts or Baskin-Robbins in a successful manner while meeting basic requirements of the ACA.  In other words, the response resembled libertarian+right-wing obfuscation by redirecting the point being addressed through my boycott.

So, I just wrote them back and made it clear that I felt they were being disingenuous with regards to conveying their true intentions - further, that they should learn to live in the modern century and own up to what a growing percentage of USA citizens see as their corporate responsibility for supporting a healthy workforce.

I feel this is a healthy exercise for us all to go through once in awhile, as raising the consciousness within any business of how potential customers negatively view their public actions could be one method of helping them understand how to re-gain our support in the future vs. their competitors.

Tit-for-tat below.

My original feedback of boycotting Dunkin' Brands business was lost when sent via their web-based form, but the gist followed what I mentioned above and was rather abbreviated: their online mechanism only allows for limited size.  That submission included my email address for future tracking/contact possibilities.

In response, they sent the following to my provided email address:

. . .

Thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

Dunkin’ Brands recognizes the Affordable Care Act as law, and our franchisees are committed to implementing the law and offering affordable health care for their employees. We believe that the definition of a full-time employee, and the number of hours a full-time employee works each week, should be consistent with existing Federal and State laws, and we have communicated this to the Administration. We do not advocate any change to this definition for the purpose of reducing the number of employees eligible for insurance.

Thank you and have a great day.

Guest Relations Associate

One must wonder why the Dunkin' Brands CEO would go out of his way to publicly fight against the ACA's average of 30 work-hours/week (130 hours/month) to determine full-time eligibility for coverage under the Act . . . if their primary intention was to synch up that definition with past tax definitions that allowed for full-time employees to be defined at the 40 work-hours/week.

There are many periodicals reporting Dunkin' Brands' intentions along the following lines, which has certainly influenced my thinking on the matter - e.g.,

. . . The question of who counts as a full-time worker is coming under fire from Dunkin' Brands (DNKN +0.27%), which wants the government to narrow its definition under Obamacare. That's because it wants to avoid paying health insurance for Dunkin' Donuts employees who work as little as 30 hours a week.
Still, I felt it fair to consider other issues at play before deciding on my boycott and associated feedback to their business.

Are their Accounting departments ready to implode due to complexity in handling these new calculations?   The IRS provides at least three different methods for calculating and determining full-time status on an employee-by-employee basis, so it's not as if there is little flexibility offered.

Do their accountants have such idealistic clashes with the new definition that they cannot handle the new calculations from an emotional standpoint?  Accountants are rather diligent and adaptable folks in my experience, so this seems an unlikely issue.

Will the costs of tracking and calculating the ACA-mandated full-time hours lead to excessive overhead in their business?  Timecards are already managed by any retail business and there are many IRS-related changes that every large business must accommodate each year.

Therefore, none of these potential issues seem to rise above any level of concern that would call for a CEO to declare opposition to the ACA's full-time worker classification on their behalf.

There must be another reason or set of reasons, and those are relatively easy to guess at within today's corporate business climate, I feel.  In that respect, here is my most recent reply to their boilerplate response:

Hello abcxyz,
I appreciate your obfuscatory response, because there is no "consistency" issue in classifying full-time workers with regards to the ACA's measure of at least 30 hrs avg/week or 130 hrs/month within the context of the ACA.  Being a former Republican, I'm used to points which are meant to distract from taking responsibility of one's actual intent towards others.

I see no other reason for Dunkin' Brands to find objection with the many IRS methods available for calculating full-time status under the ACA, than to keep as much money in the top hands of their Management and Investors at all costs to their workers.  I highly doubt that accountants in Dunkin' Brands are pulling our Management's hair due to worrying over accounting changes in full-time calculations that the ACA offers.  Instead, I feel that your response intends to provide a distracting "cover" for Dunkin' Brands Executive + Shareholder underlying desire to see this important provision of the ACA disappear, so as to save profit for those very few people . . . if your public compensation data is to be believed.  The ACA is meant to help expand healthcare access, not maintain the unworkable and unfair status quo of private, business-led healthcare subsidies in the USA that we have moved towards in the past 30 years.

This Act will ensure that those hired as full-time employees in a practical sense will gain appropriate healthcare support, because those same people working at close-to-minimum wages often have little money beyond basic expenses and minor conveniences to afford paying into private healthcare plans; a healthy workforce is one to invest in, not avoid and toss away for the next lower-salary workers who apply.  For example, a typical Dunkin' Donuts Cashier makes ~$6-10K/hour; after transportation, clothing, food, shelter, etc. for someone working in a full-time capacity (i.e., at least 4 days a week of 8-hour shifts) in your store, that does not leave much for preventative healthcare and certainly nothing for emergencies.  In many companies today, "full-time" employees who work 4 vs 5 days still obtain healthcare subsidies from available plans through their employers.  Why should Dunkin' Donuts be any different, please?

Given that businesses such as Dunkin' Brands do not desire to see public tax money used for public healthcare-for-all (i.e., as is seen in almost every modern Western country today), but instead to maximize revenues for their top Management and Shareholders, I can see this as a shock to their view of status quo.  In an information-rich, modern world, greater percentages of USA citizens are catching up with the lies of exceptionalism in this country: sending most profit to the top while pushing down "expenses" in the form of employee compensation has become an unsustainable socio-business model.   Those who continue to practically worship the stories told on behalf of our wealthiest citizens are quickly becoming fringe political adherents, by all recent polling; sure, your Executive chain and financial backers (e.g., Carlyle Group) expect to maximize their compensation while pushing down worker living arrangements as much as possible, but 19th century "Robber Baron" mentality has only contributed to the greatest divide between the top 4% and lower 96% of USA citizens by wealth in the history of this country since before the Great Depression and that is eating the middle class - not the poor - out of being your future customers.  Investment in livable jobs has gone the way of the Dodo bird in modern times where the unreality of Wall Street expectations rule all corporate directions.  Still, there has been a better balance in the USA's past which worked quite well, and now is the time to redress the currently extreme situation: the ACA is only one arm of a larger effort to move back towards a better financial and support balance within this country.

I request you convey my request that Dunkin Brand's leadership lobbies on behalf of Medicare-for-All if they want to avoid individual healthcare subsidy responsibilities, and that your Management considers a different boilerplate response to my boycott feedback to actually display their true motivations instead of hiding behind obfuscatory technical points that have nothing to do with the intent of the bi-partisan ACA as it has been enacted, please.


It's possible that Dunkin' Brands has simply not elucidated their best rationale for opposing this important definition in the ACA and that my impression gained from their actions + feedback response is far off the mark.  I can accept updates or corrections from their perspective, if such might exist.  Up until now, they've had two chances to explain why their opposition to the ACA full-time definition is reasonable from both business and social standpoints in the USA, but I have not seen anything resembling "reasonable" in my current interpretation.

Certainly, my view of what is reasonable takes into account more than what their Wall Street-influenced financial targets may allow.  I feel that's an unfortunate issue commonly exhibited by various, large businesses operating in the USA today and that the ACA is only a small data point which legislatively will create a change in business expectations going forward.  To that end, it can help effect social change, as well.  Sometimes, change can be good and be started through government efforts.  Gee, government working for people who are not also defined as corporations - that's a nice thought.

I feel that taking a small amount of time to periodically voice our stronger concerns with businesses that appear unaware of the untenable positions in which they possibly place their majority of employees is a healthy activity within society.  It doesn't rise to the level of French boycotts en masse, but perhaps adds growing voices up the Management chain of retailers who will also be dealing with "more and better" legislative efforts that will cut into their way of blithely implementing Reaganomics-on-steroids in the current century.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Feedback welcome. (13+ / 0-)

    Greetings, all.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:51:20 AM PST

    •  Don't contact businesses, contact your Senators (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, lightarty

      and Congressman telling them to fix ACA, so the cost of healthcare is the same for all employees (at least on an hourly basis normalized to a 35 hr week).  

      A major failure in ACA that needs to be fixed is not having the healthcare cost required of all full time employees, regardless of business size, and no heathcare cost requirement for part-time workers in any business.

      Businesses that shift to part time workers or limit full time equivalent employment to 50 are just rationally responding to foolish and destructive rules under ACA.  The problem lies in a major failing in ACA not the completely predicted response that businesses are pushed into.

      This terrible ACA policy especially hurts low income workers the most, as it frequently cuts their income by 25%, when a full time worker is forced into part time employment instead.

      It is counterproductive to go after businesses on this issue as it takes the pressure off of Congress and the President to fix this failing of ACA.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:16:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, though I believe (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GAS, lightarty, trumpeter

        we can walk and chew gum at the same time, honestly.

        Pressuring businesses could also lead to them working better with the same politicians we seek to influence.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:38:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, lightarty, tle

        Letter sent to Tammy Baldwin. The company I work for just cut all "flex-time" employees to a maximum of 29 hours per week. Most of the ones I work with had been getting 40 hours or more. And to think, this company used to try and get on the 100 best places to work list. HA!

        “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

        by minglewood on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:51:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ugh, sorry to hear (0+ / 0-)

          Amazing, the incredibly selfish actions that are cropping up from this initial foray into wider healthcare coverage.

          At the very least, this removes all arguments from Republicans (and some Democratic) politicians that our business-based, private healthcare system is adequate for covering most of the country's needs: even those trying to work as many hours as possible are being forcibly denied the chance for healthcare coverage through their employers . . . by those same employers.

          "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

          by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:05:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wrote to my Senator (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            at least the one that will listen, not Senator Useless. F. Johnson.

            “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

            by minglewood on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:36:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Businesses that do this, and similar things to (6+ / 0-)

    their employees, are knowingly abusing the system, and abusing the Government's safety net programs.  They know that their fulltime/parttime decisions, healthcare coverage decisions, and wage decisions, will in fact lead to more people needing government assistance.

    They are, in fact, taking more money for themselves, with the ultimate tab paid by us all.  They know it and it is the awful hypocrisy driving so many businesses these days:
    Rail against govt help and then force their employees to use that same govt help.

    There are no words that do justice when describing people like this.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:08:02 AM PST

    •  Problem is a major failing in ACA, solution is for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Congress and the President to fix ACA on this issue.  Limiting the requirement for business to incur healthcare cost to only fullTime employees in businesses with more than 50 employees (or equivalent) with no required healthcare cost for part time employees in any size business is a failed policy in ACA.  

      Going after businesses on this issue just takes off the pressure for this to be fixed by law.  

      Don't waste your time complaining to the business complain to,your Senator or Congressman.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:29:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Really EXCELLENT health news in this diary (6+ / 0-)

    Because another source of crappy, unhealthy, junk food goes smack off my list of possible places to grab a bite.

    I ask at every restaurant I eat in about health insurance for the servers and other staff. And I call back and complain to the manager when I'm told there isn't any offered.

    I call back rather than speak up right away because I don't want the server to get into trouble for telling me the truth.

    Except when a server tells me they do get health insurance - then I go right to the manager to express my appreciation on the spot.  And I have begun adding the staff health insurance status whenever asked about a restaurant.

    I have chosen restaurants because they are a place where low wages and erratic hours can easily be turned into loopholes to avoid compliance.  And also one place nobody wants to have unhealthy people directly handling their food.

    I am working on refining my inquiry for clarity and succinctness, because come October when the exchanges are up and running I'm going to ask everywhere I go.

    Overall, I don't think the ACA is the best solution and I think there will be major hiccoughs and much consternation as it rolls out (even here in NY which has been beavering away at getting its part done on time).  But for those of us who can see that the ACA is better than the status quo (even if still not the best plan), I think it is critical that we keep pushing forward. There are - and will be - too many people rooting for it to fail.


    •  Agree that the ACA is imperfect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But, it serves as an important starting point in changing expectations within some important segments of the population: those who need insurance and those who run businesses with over 50 employees who will pay for private health insurance for some subset of their employees.

      We've gone so far afield of standard, middle class expectations with large businesses - from wages, to basic benefits to retirement possibilities, etc. - that I feel these modest starts are the way we begin clawing back to a semblance of balance that still allows for the highly wealthy to still feel superior over others.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:01:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I work part-time at a restaurant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Usually about 10 hours a week and there is no health insurance. We get a 50% discount if we come in to dine and my employer says that's because she feels bad that they can't provide health insurance. They're good people and I know they would if they could.

      I just hope this paves the way for Medicare for all someday.

      “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

      by minglewood on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:55:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Consistent with what Federal law? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, suesue

    There is no federal law defining full time vs part time, and as far as I know no state laws. It's up the the employer to define it. Mine uses 35 hours.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:41:03 AM PST

    •  ACA has its definition of part time (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Full text of ACA is

      See pages 154 to 161 (as marked on top of pages) for part time definition, large vs small employer and employer responsibilities.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:51:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I looked, as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, suesue

      The closest I could find was an IRS document which allowed for "full-time" calculations relative to certain tax requirements as being a 40-hour work week per employee being considered.

      This seemed further evidence that this is all about their concern with minimizing their financial expenses in any way they could argue to do so.

      So, I agree they are stretching in this claim.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:57:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their message is clear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, suesue

    We dont give a damn about our employees, what makes you (the customer) think we give a damn about you??  If we could replace the filling of our black raspberry with used agar (used for growing bacteria in labs) and pocket a couple more dollars in profit....

    Of course we would!

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:56:51 AM PST

  •  All those franchise outfits (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommymet, wader, minglewood, Miss Jones

    They all have inferior products — all of them. Donut shops, fast food joints, big box stores, and they're all too big for their britches. I've been naturally boycotting that type of outlet for years.

    I suppose that means I'm some sort of dropout. Our beloved corporate Democrats in the Senate failed to pass Card Check when they had the chance. We really need more union power to help get workers out of poverty.

    The big corporations still run the show in DC, and one of the best things we can do to help them become irrelevant is by not patronizing them, their second-rate products, and their bought-and-paid-for Senators.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:00:06 AM PST

    •  I've used them in the past for quick coffee stop (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      quick dessert for the kids and as a breakfast sandwich stop for folks I sometimes work with on weekends, typically.

      But, that can be diverted to some local delis unless and until they stand down on this pushback against worker healthcare.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:46:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't really get the outrage. (0+ / 0-)

    Offering insurance for your employees is fucking expensive, and if you offer good insurance (normal deductible, PPO, etc.), it can cost a fortune.

    Asking that a donut shop to take on those enormous costs for employees that aren't paid a lot (and aren't working a lot) seems absurd.

    •  Revenue for Dunkin' Brands in Jan-March of 2013 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wayoutinthestix, WakeUpNeo

      was over $160M.

      So, that's a mighty big "coffee shop" you're intentionally misrepresenting, there.

      My diary clearly addresses the corporate reaction to ACA and its attempt to run away from such, similar to Papa Johns and others as of late.  The article I linked near the top also explains their desire to minimize corporate adherence to the ACA provisions by lobbying against its definition of "full-time" employees who need to be covered.

      Perhaps you understand the opposition a bit more clearly at this point.  

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:59:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please note that this is NOT a "pie" response (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, Miss Jones

    donut recipe

    I love donuts, and I wish I were less lazy about making my own. What better way to tell DD you don't approve of their behavior?

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:06:18 PM PST

    •  Good suggestion (0+ / 0-)

      I have fond memories of making cake-style donuts with my Mom as a kid - they were rather easy and tasty, too.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:12:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your response contains too many big words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They won't read it.  Another thing about our corporate elite is that they are lazy.

    But I enjoyed reading it!

  •  Boycott (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Dunkin Donuts is unwilling to support the USA then why should I support them?

    I will be buying coffee for me and my 62 workers elsewhere, workers that I support and will not be reducing hours for so I can be a bit richer.

    Dunkin Donuts is America hating scum!

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