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Businesses go into Obamacare survival mode, Dems fight back

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supermarket_rear_case_islesTaking a cue from restaurant franchisees, the Wisconsin-based supermarket chain Trig’s announced they’ll be limiting the work hours of its part-time employees to 30 per week in order to avoid covering them under the Obamacare mandate.

This marks the second grocery chain to make such an decision in as many weeks. New York-based Wejman’s grocery chain, praised in the past for offering health care coverage for part-time employees, announced July 12 that they were terminating the practice. Their decision was base centirely on the Obamacare requirements, according to Townhall.

In the sluggish economy of the last four years, such decisions are reached not so much on profit motive as pure survival — avoiding bankruptcy.

“Doing nothing was not an option,” Angie Dreifuerst, Trig’s’ Vice President of HR, Benefits told NBC affiliate WJFW. “It would have put us out of business. Within a year, it would have put us out of business. There’s no doubt about that. So obviously we’ve had to make some changes.”

Although Trig’s will be promoting a few employees to full-time, those working part-time will be limited to 30 hour work weeks.

“Yeah, they were frustrated, but I believe they also understood why we had to make the decisions that we did. I said, ‘this isn’t good for you, this isn’t good for us, it’s not what we want to do either.’ Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of options. We have to do what we have to do to comply and stay viable,” she said.

In a weak economy, the first thing the country has to do is to take care of the economic engine — small business. Citing Bureau of Economic Analysis data, CNS News noted that economic growth under the Obama administration has averaged a tad above one percent. That’s more than weak — it’s downright anemic.

The way to restore the health of business and, in turn, the economy, is to ease restrictions and take the burden of an oppressive tax system and overreaching regulation.

Obamacare is one of those burdens that threatens the existence of businesses — especially marginal ones. The 30-hour per week cutoff for providing benefits is one of the very few lifelines businesses have available to them to get by, and one-by-one they’re grasping at it to avoid bankruptcy.

But there’s an Midwest congresswoman intent on yanking that lifeline away by expanding the benefits that have to be offered to part-time employees.

Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced H.R. 675, the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 , “To extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans,” according to the bill’s long title.

The bill has 17 co-sponsors, all Democrats, including Reps. Alcee “Impeached Judge” Hastings and Alan “Die Quickly” Grayson, both of Florida. Also signing on was Hank Johnson of Georgia, who in March of 2010 expressed fear that the island of Guam “will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”

The bill was both introduced and sent to committee Feb. 13, where it will likely die.

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