ONTD Political

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owner of small pizza chain to Papa John's: suck it up and give your employees healthcare

3:20 pm - 11/15/2012
(now Mr. Martin doesn't say those exact words directly, but that's certainly the message i'm reading between the lines in this response :D)

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter’s recent statement that the Affordable Care Act will force the pizza chain to raise prices came as good news to Nick Martin.

Martin, a part owner of Ian’s Pizza, a pizza shop with four locations in Wisconsin, said his business has offered full heath care coverage to its 50 full-time employees for years, making it all the more difficult to compete with national chains like Papa John's that pay workers low wages without health benefits.

"This may level the playing field for us,” Martin said of the Papa John's price hike. “If they have to pay for benefits, and that pushes their prices up closer to ours, it will justify what we’ve been paying for and what we’ve been fighting to do the past few years.” (Ian's knows a bit about fighting, having fed demonstrators free slices during last year's protests in Madison.)

Like many of the 60 percent of small businesses that pay employees health benefits, Ian's Pizza has struggled to compete with national chains that enter local markets and undercut existing prices. But Obamacare may give local businesses some breathing room as national chains lose the advantage they once wielded through not providing health insurance, according to Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Obamacare mandates that businesses with more than 50 workers offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30. “Evidence suggests that when health insurance costs go up, worker wages fall, rather than prices going up,” Gruber said. “If firms are forced to give their workers health insurance, they generally react by paying workers less in wages; they don’t raise the price of goods."

However, in the case of Papa John's, a portion of its employees are already paid at minimum wage, Gruber pointed out. "So you can’t reduce wages for those employees, and the firm may have to increase prices a little bit,” he said.

But Gruber emphasized that such price hikes will likely be small, meaning local business owners shouldn’t expect their prices to become that much more competitive compared to the big guys.

"A lot of what drives statements like those of Papa John’s CEO are politics, not economics," Gruber said.

Schnatter said in August that Obamacare would cost the company between 11 and 14 cents per pizza. Subsequent analysis by Caleb Melby of Forbes found that the price increase would actually be closer 3.4 to 3.6 cents per pie.

“It’s not going to have much of an effect on the gap in prices between Papa John's and smaller competitors,” Gruber said. “That gap is much more about the efficiencies that come from being a large operator, being able to buy in bulk and things like that.”

Still, small business owners who already offer employees health insurance reported feeling a sense of vindication upon hearing that large restaurant chains are now being forced to consider a cost that they’ve shouldered for years.

“I’d tell Papa John's' CEO, ‘Welcome to the club,’” Martin said. “We’ve battled the whole way giving health insurance to employees ever since we could afford to do it 9 years ago, as a two-year-old business.”

da source

if i lived in WI and could stand to eat pizza, i'd certainly patronize this guy's place. he is obviously a business owner who cares about the people that help him make his money.

(p.s. mods, could we get a "Affordable Care Act/Obamacare" tag possibly? thanks.)
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tabaqui 16th-Nov-2012 03:09 am (UTC)
I *wish* we had a local place i could get pizza from. There's just one, and if it's the same as it has been for years, the pizza is really gross.

Arrgh. I really dislike the *lies* about this, and the excuse it gives the CEO's to screw over their workers yet again.
sio 16th-Nov-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
yea sadly, our local non-chain pizza place has gone downhill in quality. it sucks cuz they were one of the best places in town when i was a kid.

don't know if their employees get proper benefits, though.
blueboatdreams 16th-Nov-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Kudos to these small business owners. Now if only greedy tax-avoiding billionaires would follow suite.
carmy_w 16th-Nov-2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
They will, when they get 1) shamed into doing so by these same small business owners, and 2) when the consumers decide they'd rather go with a small private pizza place than the large corporations, thus hitting the bottom line.
caterfree10 16th-Nov-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
So where are the Republicans who claim this shit is hurting small businesses now...?

Right, that's what I thought. Too busy kissing asses of big business to look at actual fact. Of course.
skellington1 16th-Nov-2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
From what I could gather from campaign rhetoric, those republicans actually redefined 'small business' to be 'big business that isn't huge.'
romp 16th-Nov-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
Nice. Now we just need everyone to shun horrible people rather than continue to buy the Profit is Sacred bullshit.
pamuya 16th-Nov-2012 03:34 am (UTC)
currently eating my pizza from my local place and it tastes so much better tbh, in both taste and knowing they care about their employees. fuck papa johns for pulling this shit.
shhh_its_s3cr3t 16th-Nov-2012 03:39 am (UTC)
I've already been supporting my local pizza place because of 3 things:

1. TASTE is amazing compared to chain pizza places;
2. If I can buy local as opposed to the big chains and spend my money in town - I certainly will;
3. i know they treat their employees like people instead of disposable pesky money snatchers.

Keep on being a human being, sir! :)
strwbrri_shrtck 16th-Nov-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
I generally love going to local restaurants, because the food tastes better! For example, I went to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight and had the BEST (no exaggeration here, like for realz) burrito I've ever had in my life. Most of them are family owned restaurants too, so I enjoy supporting them as opposed to the big corporate chains.
tabaqui 16th-Nov-2012 03:59 am (UTC)
This. Our local El Jimador is awesome, a thousand times better than any chain 'Mexican' place and a billion times better than Taco Hell. Plus - my daughter thinks most of the waiters are 'hot', heh.
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omimouse 16th-Nov-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
-makes note to swing past an Ian's Pizza on the Great American Roadtrip-
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psychesky 16th-Nov-2012 07:20 am (UTC)
I've said that living in my part of Brooklyn is like having 1000 Hispanic grandmas, with all the family-owned places to eat. Even the bodega food is amazing.
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darth_eldritch 16th-Nov-2012 05:07 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. This will give small businesses the breaks they need, and now better ideas and better quality has a chance to replace big business.
hinoema 16th-Nov-2012 05:08 am (UTC)
I wish I lived close enough to buy all the pizzas. This giy has his priorities straight- health care for workers, not a big ass Elmer J Fudd mansion.

The headline is a bit disappointing, though. Papa John needs to understand that his employees work to get a living wage and benefits, not so he can need a golf cart to get to his bathroom. You give gifts. Earned benefits aren't gifts.
othellia 16th-Nov-2012 05:08 am (UTC)
I love local restaurants, especially pizza places. Though I'm still grumpy over the fact that my favorite pizza place was forced to close up shop since the whole shopping center was bought up to make room for MORE student housing. (Hooray for being one of the largest universities in the country!)

They're set to relocate a couple miles down the road, but they won't reopen until after I've graduated and moved out of the state. :\

Though, I've also noticed that it's hard sometimes to get other people to eat at local places. Like there's this local Vietnamese restaurant I love, but swear it'd be easier to get my friends and coworkers to shoot themselves in the foot than go. When they do decide to get Asian food, it's ~always~ either Panda Express or Pei Wei or whatever cheap random takeout's around.
alierakieron 16th-Nov-2012 05:24 am (UTC)
So goin' to Ian's this weekend for a slice of Mac n Cheese pizza.
hinoema 16th-Nov-2012 06:24 am (UTC)
...a slice of Mac n Cheese pizza.

Now THAT sounds like the ultimate comfort food.
maenads_dance 16th-Nov-2012 06:13 am (UTC)
If we're talking restaurants to avoid because of shitty employee relations, add Jimmy John's to the list. Minimum wage, and when I worked there in MD, we had 10 hour shifts without so much as a fifteen minute break, AND they didn't give a discount on food unless you worked 10 hours or more. Assholes.
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