Taco Bell joins Wendy’s in gutting blue-collar employee hours allegedly to avoid Obamacare

Yo no quiero Taco Bell.

Funny thing about Taco Bell’s franchise in Oklahoma claiming it’s gutting blue collar employee hours in order to avoid Obamacare’s requirement that employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more must be provided health insurance. I called around, and the requirement doesn’t kick in until 2014. So why is Taco Ball cutting employee hours now, a year early? Same question for Wendy’s.

But it gets even odder.  The company that owns the local Taco Bells seems to be saying that they still don’t fully know what Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) requires of them.

Treadwell Enterprises released the following statement Monday to News 9:

“Treadwell Enterprises, like most businesses, is still researching what the Affordable Care Act means to our operations. Regardless of the conclusion of our analysis, we will comply with this law, as we do all laws.”

If the company is still analyzing how Obamacare affects their business, then why is the franchise owned by this company already cutting back employee hours in order to save money on something that not only reportedly hasn’t even been implemented yet, but about which they haven’t even reaching any “conclusions” yet?

taco bell

Yo no quiero Taco Bell.

The more these big brands like Wendy’s and Taco Bell strike out against their blue collar employees supposedly because of an Obamacare provision that reportedly doesn’t even apply to them yet, the more it sounds like these are Republican companies simply trying to save money by making a political statement about a Democratic program and Democratic President they don’t like.

And I’m getting tired of hearing these parent companies tell us that they’re not responsible for what their franchises do.  You license them your good name, you’re responsible for what they do under your name. Period.

It’s time to write Taco Bell off along with Wendy’s, unless both companies get their franchises in line.  I go to both Taco Bell and Wendy’s.  But I wont in the future if it means financing Republican activists who are out to hurt their workers.

And this parent company of the Taco Bell in Oklahoma also runs a series of KFC’s and Ruby Tuesdays in the state, so those brands are implicated in this as well, since KFC and Ruby Tuesday seem to think this company is a fine business to partner with.

PS Someone on Facebook just made a fascinating point: There are employees at Taco Bell and Wendy’s who are touching our food and who don’t have adequate health insurance, and thus adequate health care? And they’re touching our food.

Here’s the news report on this:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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49 Responses to “Taco Bell joins Wendy’s in gutting blue-collar employee hours allegedly to avoid Obamacare”

  1. samiinh says:

    You have missed my point. My point is that companies like Taco Bell and Walmart and others do many things to their employees so that they (the corporations) don’t have to pay for the health care of those who work for them. Who then pays, when they must go to the ER…everyone else pays, either through increased insurance premiums (it’s estimated that at least $1000 of annual premiums are used to pay for ER services that can’t be paid by those who use the ER for their health care), or through Medicaid or other government programs for the poor.

    If we had universal health care in this country, like every other modern country has, without a profit motive for insurance companies, perhaps communities wouldn’t have to be subsidizing the Walmarts and Taco Bells et al inside their borders. That was the point.

  2. drake78 says:

    You seem to be missing the point that karmanot was making. As far as the state I live in there are no publicly subsidized programs that pay for ER visits. The ER cannot refuse to treat someone if they have a valid medical issue. They still receive the bill in the mail. Only six months ago I went to the ER with stomach issues. Turned out to be gastritis (bad gas). I was given a Dixie cup of Mylanta, written a prescription for some kind of medication to lessen gas, and sent on my way. Fine that is what my treatment called for. That is not what I have an issue with. What I have an issue with is the $450 dollar bill I was sent two weeks later. I am a part time worker trying to go to school. Not a free loader. I cant afford to pay full price for medical treatment. I have three large cavities that I cannot afford to have worked on. Do you think I like living this way? No, I do not. But since I am a part time worker I do not get any kind of benefits. I can only pray I stay some what healthy. When I finally do finish my degree and start a career, I can finally be fortunate enough to get Health care and dental. I pay into FICA just like every other employed person. I pay taxes just like every other employed person. I do not get anything for free. I work, hard, for what I have. I live in a rental, I do not have a car. most of what I earn goes to food and rent. I will most likely be paying back my student loans for half of the rest of my life. so I deeply resent your insinuation that part time workers are nothing but a bunch of free loaders.

  3. mike31c says:

    Must not be good business owners if they do not know what the new law requires and quite frankly, what kind of special moron pisses off their employees?

  4. Moderator3 says:

    I’ll ignore up to five words.

  5. samiinh says:


  6. samiinh says:

    Of course it’s not free…that’s why I wrote “the rest of us pay for it.” Duh.

  7. karmanot says:

    “when their employees must go the the ER for their health care and the rest of us pay for it” How many times does it need to be said. (excuse me moderator—THE ER IS NOT FREE).

  8. karmanot says:

    As soon as you set me on fire I’ll give ya a big ole’ bear hug.

  9. karmanot says:

    Thank you troll-nit-picker

  10. Moderator3 says:

    Please do not post in all caps. It is considered yelling when online. You can google html codes and use the bold for emphasis.

  11. Tom MapleSt says:



  12. Tom MapleSt says:


  13. UncleBucky says:

    LOL, yep. But we could do the TOP 100, couldn’t we? :D

  14. Moderator3 says:

    Were you asked for help? Otherwise, that’s rude.

  15. Kenneth C. Fingeret says:

    Hello ABProsper,

    I like what you have said but I wish to point out a grammatical and some punctuation (typing) errors. The second line “Owners may simply not wish to have to be effected by the law , do extra
    paperwork or may simply feel imposed upon or that such things are no
    appropriate enlivenment conduct and as such, they may chose to respond .” the word law needs the comma next to it and not one space between them and the same for the period at the end of the sentence. The word effected should be affected. These two words are often misused . One quick source for comprehension is located at this url. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/affect-versus-effect.aspx

  16. Kenneth C. Fingeret says:

    Hello Randy Riddle,

    Aren’t the terms common sense and Rethug business owner mutually exclusive?

  17. ezpz says:

    And then there’s always subcontracting for higher end work, where they don’t have to pay you anything except your pre agreed fees for services. No vacation pay, no holidays, no paid medical leave, and definitely, DEFINITELY no health insurance.

  18. ezpz says:

    Yes, laws would be good. Agree with that. Too bad, though, that some are above the law, and in this case, it’s the big corporations. Oh sure, they may get fined or slapped on the wrist, but they’d gladly take that ‘punishment’ over paying benefits to their workers if they can avoid it. It’s just more cost effective for them.

    And unfortunately, the “modern Democratic party” looks nothing like the old Democratic Party – a la Paul Wellstone. We really don’t even have a Democratic Party except in name only – oh, and rhetoric, too, but alas, that populist rhetoric is duplicitous at best.

  19. TheOriginalLiz says:

    Any excuse to screw over someone who can’t/won’t fight back.

  20. karmanot says:

    Are you sure that wasn’t a TB burrito?

  21. karmanot says:

    This business model applies across the board—-academia is typical—-adjunct or part time professors with low salaries and no benefits. Univ. of California operates this way, while paying its administrative staff outrageously high wages.

  22. BeccaM says:

    Absolutely. In high school and early college, I worked as a waitress, cook, and sometime dishwasher at a Friendly’s restaurant. Many of my friends worked at McDonalds or other fast-food joints.

    Without exception, the ONLY people in those places who worked more than roughly 32 hours a week were the managers.

  23. FunMe says:

    It’s not Mexican food, its JUNK food. The kind of “Mexican” food they are selling is so easy to make at home with pinto beans and corn/flour torillas sold just about everywhere in the nation.

  24. mf_roe says:

    Just an excuse to continue business as usual. Insurance costs are expenses that are no different than utilities or supplies in terms of profit for the business, in effect they are subsidized by the tax system. This is just one more attack on the working class by the owner class the goal is to reduce the workers to serfs who have no choice but underpaid servitude and early death.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    Do any of these food chains treat their employees well? Starbucks is pretty good I hear. Anyone else?

  26. emjayay says:

    I don’t know how it would work, but since unions, who would demand this sort of thing, don’t exist much anymore particularly in the case of national and franchise retail, what we need are laws about giving workers changing hours every day and fewer than 40 hours in order to avoid benefits. And hiring temps in cases where there is no reason for temps except to avoid benefits.This is the kind of stuff the modern Democratic party should be all over, and I haven’t heard a thing.

  27. Jodi Cassell says:

    That’s a bunch of bull … the Costco CEO stands up to his shareholders … any CEO can do this.

  28. HolyMoly says:

    I wouldn’t even classify it as Mexican food. The real deal is so much different. Taco Bell is more like Mexican’t or Fake-si-can food.

  29. nicho says:


  30. nicho says:

    It would be provided by the government — as it is in sane countries.

  31. ezpz says:

    Corporate America has been doing this for years. It’s nothing new at all. I’ve seen it. They would rather hire two or three part timers to do the job of one full timer because part time employees are not entitled to the same benefits as full time employees.

    As Naja pallida said above (or below, depending…), this is not because of obamacare.

  32. ezpz says:


  33. TuxedoCartman says:

    I’m pretty sure you learn on your first day of law school that nobody can be sued for following the law. The lawyer that tried to bring suit against a corporation for lawfully employing people, who still aren’t even considered full-time employees, would be laughed out of court.

  34. samiinh says:

    It really galls me to subsidize these companies including Walmart when their employees must go the the ER for their health care and the rest of us pay for it. I know my protest doesn’t hurt any of them, but I refuse to shop or eat at any of these types of places. I haven’t been in a Walmart in years, nor have I eaten at a Wendy’s or Taco Bell in many many years. If more people would boycott them, then maybe they’d begin to feel in their greedy pocketbooks the pain they need to feel.

  35. ABProsper says:

    You can’t use static models when calculating the effects of the law. Owners may simply not wish to have to be effected by the law , do extra paperwork or may simply feel imposed upon or that such things are no appropriate enlivenment conduct and as such, they may chose to respond . Low skilled workers are especially vulnerable since basically anyone can do their job with almost no training. And note I have done this kind of work back in high school where it was common for anyone. It took me all of 2 hours training for most of my fast food work, it took slower people about the same amount of time. It easier now.

    The solution than is to do the correct thing if you want universal coverage and simply have Medicaid for all US citizens instead of a corporate handout for insurance bigwigs.

    Now I grant you, paying for that is hard but thats the Democrats job, figuring out how to make policy choices work not guessing they will but running the numbers and understanding how people think and might react. The economy is not a machine, its people and you need to count them in.

    A last point here, you need to get on the ball with these thing, yesterday really. Automation technology is increasing, heck I already see kiosks replacing clerks in fast food stores.

    Its not that far off where all of those jobs can be done faster and better by machine. Fast food loves automation (for example, the ultra-simplified pictographic cash registers at many of them) and they’ll use it.

    Command/Control solution are not going to work and education is only a stopgap for many. If the Democratic party doesn’t work on getting everyone incomes up (the Republicans wont) , they’ll be fighting over scraps since the high unemployment (say like the 50% among even educated young people we see in parts of Europe) guts the tax base.

  36. nicho says:

    I have been boycotting TB since the day — in ’94, when I stopped in and halfway through my “meal,” the woman at the next table changed her baby’s shitty diaper on top of the table.

  37. guest1 says:

    In a free market health care wouldnt be tied to employment in the first place

  38. Naja pallida says:

    This has been the standard model for minimum wage employers for decades. The idea that they’re just suddenly doing it now because of the ACA is nothing more than a political penis-waving ploy.

  39. nicho says:

    You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    The corporate officers of Taco Bell are required — by law — to maximize return to the stockholders — regardless of any other consideration. If they don’t, they can be sued by the stockholders.

    The stockholders have invested in the company to make a return on their money. These investors can include institutional investors, pension funds, foreign investors, etc. All they care about is short-term return — not the health of the employees. If the corporate officers don’t “maximize return,” they are failing in their duty to the stockholders.

    No matter what kind of douchebags — or nice people — run the company, the culprit is corporate law, as currently written. That’s what we need to change.

  40. nicho says:

    Man, we need a site with a listing of these bastard corporate persons.

    That would eat up too much bandwidth. A site listing the good corporations would be a lot easier.

  41. Quilla says:

    Ah, as in “The Kentucky Derby presented by YUM Brands”? Oh, my head. Don’t get me started on that corporate roll…

  42. Randy Riddle says:

    This is all political posturing and has nothing to do with running a business or acting with any common sense.

  43. NCMan says:

    The last time I knew, YUM Brands, the corporate GIANT behind Taco Bell, also owns KFC and Pizza Hut.

  44. NCMan says:

    Just like Walmart!!!!!!

  45. SkippyFlipjack says:

    You go to Taco Bell? Is there really no decent Mexican food in the DC area?

  46. Guest says:

    And it’s just not going to work. These people are stupid. They need to read the proposed regulations the IRS has posted for review and comment. Unless each of these franchisees is a really small operation, they’re going to get caught anyway. The regs will require aggregation of part-time employees to determine the 50-thirty-hours-per-week employees that make the threshold for large employer, exposing them to penalties if any of their employees obtains subsidies under the act. Who the hell is giving these people advice? Is the public relations debacle they’re in for (yes, I get the no-health-coverage employees handling our food bit) worth the price of this stupidity?

  47. This Boycott will be easy for me.

  48. Randy Riddle says:

    In other words, they want government to pay for their employee’s health insurance so they can have a little more profit? The owners of this franchise are the true welfare queens.

  49. UncleBucky says:

    Man, we need a site with a listing of these bastard corporate persons.

    Maybe a portion of AmericaBlog. But something that does a timeline or a table with these cretins. I like a timeline, where we can show parallel events happening, thus showing that the reactions are too early for the stated reasons, and instead, it’s a politically motivated statement.

    The whackos must have gotten some Koch juice transfusions.

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