President Obama and Staples probably won’t be sending any Valentine’s cards to each other this season.
A recent move by the company to fire employees for working more than 25 hours per week “as a result of Obamacare,” some reports have said, has the President up in arms over his embattled and unpopular healthcare law.
In a recent interview on the topic with BuzzFeed, he spoke to the decision directly, with some stern language for the office supply chain. The gist of it was “Shame on them.”
Obama said of Staples that there is “no reason for an employer who is not currently providing health care to their workers to discourage them from either getting health insurance on the job or being able to avail themselves of the Affordable Care Act.”
Obama admitted that he hadn’t “looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is,” but said he suspected the company could afford “to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security,” and if they couldn’t, “then they should be willing to allow those workers to get the Affordable Care Act without cutting wages.”
“This is the same argument that I’ve made with respect to something like paid sick leave. We have 43 million Americans who, if they get sick or their child gets sick, are looking at either losing their paycheck or going to the job sick or leaving their child at home sick. It’s one thing when you’ve got a mom-and-pop store who can’t afford to provide paid sick leave or health insurance or minimum wage to workers — even though a large percentage of those small businesses do it because they know it’s the right thing to do — but when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them.”
The BuzzFeed interview did not press Obama on Staples’ reasoning for the cuts, and the company has since responded to the contents of the interview stating that the President “doesn’t have all the facts,” or at least didn’t use them when sitting down with the left-leaning media outlet.
“Unfortunately, the president appears not to have all the facts,” said company spokesman Kirk Saville in comments to CNNMoney.
Saville called the whole BuzzFeed report “misleading,” and noted that Staples “has many opportunities for hourly workers to advance into full-time and management positions.”
“It’s unfortunate that the president is attacking a company that provides more than 85,000 jobs and is a major tax payer,” Saville said.
CNNMoney notes that Staples “had 46,361 full-time workers and 36,647 part-time workers, as of its most recent regulatory filing, made about a year ago,” which is roughly the “same percentage of part-time workers as in 2008, prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.”
Do you think Obama owes Staples an apology over his ACA comments or was he on-point? Sound off in our comments section.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images]