I promised a very important post on Friday and today I am delivering with my thoughts on the disappointing leadership displayed by Darden Restaurants. Their recent decision to publicly announce cutting hours of employees in four test markets to avoid the costs of providing health insurance is deplorable. To make such a public announcement over a year before the law goes into effect is questionable. To do so a month before the Presidential election is a transparent attempt to threaten the livelihood of their employees if the current president is reelected.
My argument is very simple. Restaurants have a tremendous impact on the health and safety of our nation. A sick restaurant employee has the ability to infect a large number of guests in a short period of time. In spite of this fact, nearly 90% of restaurant employees lack employer provided health care or sick days. Healthy restaurant employees help keep the dining public safe. With the health care act going into effect in 2014, restaurant guests should be able to dine out without risking coming into contact with uninsured employees.
Darden, the largest full service restaurant company in the United States, has decided that they will look for ways to avoid their responsibilities under the new law. Rather than leading the industry in protecting guests, they are claiming that this presents an unfair burden. When a national law goes into effect in all industries for all companies, Darden should be the last company to make this claim. They are the largest company in an industry that is legally allowed to pay many employees less than the minimum wage. They have purchasing power for insurance coverage that smaller companies can only dream of. While other companies that pose less risk to the health of the public are truly fighting to stay profitable, Darden’s CEO reportedly made $8.5 million in 2011.
In short Darden is the last company that should be claiming this is a financial hardship. Find out more about this situation and why I am encouraging others to boycott Darden in today’s post at Foodie Knowledge.