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1/16/06

Maryland Passes Law to Require Big Companies to Provide Health Care to Employees

It's about time this issue was addressed. For years, large corporations have flouted and dodged any law that requires them to treat employees better. They routinely outsource jobs to foriegn countries to avoid having to treat their employees better. They move their operations to other countries and lobby for lax immigration laws so they can hire illegals who won't fight for their right to be treated fairly.

With health insurance, it's even more obvious. Laws were passed that required companies to provide health coverage for their full-time employees. So, what do they do? They make everyone part-time employees. They give them a schedule just short of one that would qualify their employees as full-time, thereby avoiding having to provide them their benefits.

The largest corporations are the most guilty for this practice. JC Penneys, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Burger King, and others.

The new Maryland law requires that companies with more than 10,000 employees spend 8% of their payroll towards health coverage for their employees. In Maryland, the law only affects Wal-Mart, but laws being considered in other states lower the bar to companies with 1000 or 2000 employees, which will affect McDonalds, CVS, and others.

Yet the counterattack is already mounted by these big companies. They will spend more to defeat the bill than they would to pay health coverage for their employees. They ignore the facts that better health coverage brings better employees to work for them, better health coverage means more productive workers, and that better health coverage means less sick days taken.

The first claim of the counterattack is that it will affect restaurants whose workers already earn less than minimum wage and that this will be a burden on restaurants who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Three trade groups - the National Retail Federation, the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association - have created a coalition to oppose legislation and are already preparing an aggressive campaign to prevent lawmakers from passing the legislation outside Maryland.

When is the last time you went to a restaurant that had 1000 employees? It would only affect chains like McDonalds and Burger King which are multinational corporations that can afford health care, but choose not to. It will not affect your local restaurants or even smaller chains. So the first attack you will hear is based on a lie.

According to the NY Times
Wal-Mart insures fewer than half of its 1.3 million employees in the United States. According to an internal memo, 5 percent, or roughly 65,000, of its workers rely on state Medicaid plans, compared with 4 percent for other national companies.
These corporations get incentives from the federal, state, and local governments all the time. They get huge tax breaks. They lobby to keep the minimum wage lower than the poverty level. AND THEY WANT OUR TAX DOLLARS TO SUBSIDIZE THE HEALTH CARE THEY SHOULD BE PROVIDING THEIR EMPLOYEES?

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