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Papa John's Only Insures One in Three Workers, But CEO Tries to Blame Obamacare If That Drops

Papa John's is one of the 50 largest low-wage employers, and it's a highly profitable one.
 
 
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Papa John's CEO John Schnatter has been outspoken about how much he, as a greedy CEO, opposes Obamacare and will pass along to the customer the 10 to 14 cents it could add to the cost of each pizza. Immediately following President Barack Obama's reelection, Romney supporter Schnatter had a little more to say:

About a third of Papa John's employees are covered by the company's health insurance plan, although Schnatter said he has always wanted 100 percent of them on the plan. The rising costs of health insurance, he said, have been a deterrent.

"The good news is 100 percent of the population is going to have health insurance. We're all going to pay for it," he said, estimating the new law would cost the business $5 million to $8 million annually.

Under the Affordable Care Act, full-time employees—those working 30 hours or more per week—would have to be provided with insurance at companies with more than 50 workers. Schnatter said it was likely that some franchise owners would reduce employees' hours in order to avoid having to cover them.

You know who I don't take seriously when they say they really want everyone to have health insurance and it's a shame Obamacare isn't the right way to insure more people? People who run businesses where only a third of workers are insured. Like Darden Restaurants (the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, among others), which also said that Obamacare was what would be causing it to cut down on the 25 percent of its workers that got the 30 hours a week qualifying them for health insurance, Papa John's is one of the 50 largest low-wage employers, and it's a highly profitable one. So, no, "I'm so concerned that I might have to cut hours for some of the one in three employees I currently insure even though my 2011 revenues were $1.22 billion" is not the thing that makes me, personally, think "gosh, Obamacare really is putting intolerable burdens on businesses that want to take care of their workers but just might not be able to afford it."

But I'm not the target for this kind of talk. Will Republicans mobilize in Schnatter's defense? Failed Delaware Senate candidate and non-witch Christine O'Donnell wants to bring back that Chick-fil-A magic.

People who think low-wage, no-health-care jobs are a great thing should definitely go to Papa John's on Friday to make the political point that the company would be right to cut workers' hours. What's more, everyone who heeds O'Donnell's call should be sure the workers know why they're ordering this pizza on this day. Alternatively, they could just leave a "please spit on this pizza repeatedly" note when ordering each one.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.