The same day that Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. said it will not bump down existing full-time workers to part-time status to skirt healthcare costs, a petition calling on the company's chief executive to clarify his position is gaining steam.
Dan Haney, an unemployed pharmaceutical customer service representative from Philadelphia, started the SignOn.org petition urging Darden CEO Clarence Otis to be even more specific about how the company will react when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014.
The petition also targets Zane Tankel, chief executive of a major Applebee's franchisee, and Papa John's Chief Executive John Schnatter. Both have indicated that healthcare reform, often called "Obamacare" for its main cheerleader, will put a severe squeeze on their margins.
"Keep this in mind: If your employees don't have health care in order to get well when they do get sick, those same employees come to work sick and can pass their illnesses onto us as they prepare or serve our food," according to the petition.
Obamacare will require large companies to offer health insurance access to all full-time workers or face a hefty fine. Consumer columnist David Lazarus and food industry reporter Tiffany Hsu discuss Darden's Thursday decision and other, spacier topics in today's Google Hangout.