In 2009, the celebration was on for an oddly-named company known as CH2M Hill. The engineering firm, performing the vast majority of the work at a cleanup project located on the Hanford Nuclear Site in eastern Washington, had just received word of a $1.96 billion reward in stimulus money for their services. The company immediately set about conducting job fairs and hiring 1,300 employees.
Feel good story of the stimulus, right? Wrong. More like a prime example of how stimulus funding was nothing more than a short-term band-aid for a long-term economic wound.
In the past couple of years, CH2M Hill has repeatedly announced layoffs that have met and exceeded the number of hires created by the stimulus, have slashed the pensions of non-union workers, and are currently demanding wage and benefit cuts from their union employees.
In January of 2011, specifically citing the drying up of stimulus funds, the Hanford nuclear site braced for a loss of 1,600 jobs, with 1,350 starting in September for CH2M Hill.
This past August, the company announced another 400 layoffs were imminent, informing members of the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC) union of the news.
All told, the Hanford site started 2011 with 12,000 workers, but lost about 2,000 nine months later. An article by the Tri-City Herald featured several interviews with people who had lost their jobs after stimulus funding had dissipated. Most understood that their positions were only temporary – meaning, they recognized that once the stimulus money had been thrown at the project, their jobs would be eliminated.
Why didn’t the government?
Not only was it temporary, but in the end was proof positive that the stimulus could not counter the effects of an ailing economy. CH2M Hill lost roughly a net of 700 positions – despite the hiring that came about after their hefty $2 billion reward.
Troubling waters for Hanford workers have yet to recede.
Just a few weeks ago, nearly 1,700 non-union workers at the Hanford site had their pensions cut, with benefits accrued being frozen for 2014, and the multiplier used to calculate pension benefits being reduced from 1.6 percent to 1.2 percent.
Union workers from the aforementioned HAMTC were spared such cuts – or were they?
At the end of November, labor negotiations between the HAMTC and CH2M Hill got testy, with the company proposing significant wage and benefit cuts for their workers.
Dave Molnaa, President of the HAMTC called the proposal “an insult to workers”, explaining that “the proposal will mean less money for workers and more money kept by the corporation”.
Why would a company that received nearly $2 billion in government funding need to eliminate jobs, eliminate pensions, reduce wages, and find ways to ‘keep more money’?
A Wall Street Journal report explains it best, perhaps. In discussing the CH2M Hill/Hanford cleanup projects, Tennille Tracy writes:
“… projects that employ people quickly are often considered ‘low-hanging fruit’ and can fail to set the stage for long-term economic growth.”
A microcosm of the entire stimulus experiment itself.
For sure enough, when the low-hanging fruit began to go bad for companies like CH2M Hill, when the stimulus funding ran out for projects at the Hanford site, all of those jobs—and then some—were eliminated.
We keep hearing about companies that received millions in stimulus funding, but only created a certain amount of jobs at an exorbitant amount. Yet CH2M Hill continues to fly under the radar, receiving billions in funding to actually lose hundreds of jobs.
Such waste. $2 billion in taxpayer money provided for temporary hiring, temporary funding, and a temporary patch on the economy – and you’ve probably never heard about it.
Cross-posted at FreedomWorks
Tuesday’s victory for the President marks the first time since its inception that Obamacare is no longer a what-if; it is the future of health care in America.
It also means a near immediate impact on the economy. With 20 or so new or higher taxes set to be implemented, ranging from a $123 billion surtax on investment income, through the $20 billion medical device tax, all the way down to the $600 million executive compensation limit, Obamacare will be a nearly unbearable tax burden on the economy.
Who will pay? The middle-class workforce, of course.
So with another four years for President Obama to look forward to, and the obvious inevitability of Obamacare that this entails, let’s examine the very real jobs that will be lost, and the very real lives that will be affected.
Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years. One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.
Dana Holding Corp.
As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”. After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come. The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.
One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December. Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.
In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company. Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.
In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs. That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.
A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:
- Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs
- Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs
- Covidien – 595 layoffs
- Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs
- St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs
- Hill Rom – 200 layoffs
Beyond the complete elimination of a significant number of American jobs is another looming problem created by the health care law – a shift from full-time to part-time workers.
Sean Hackbarth of Free Enterprise explains:
A JP Morgan economist “points out that 8.3 million people are working in part-time jobs even though they’d prefer full-time work. Unfortunately, because of President Obama’s health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), workers in the hotel, restaurant, and retail industries could be pushed into part-time jobs working less than 30 hours per week.”
“Under the health care law, if a company has more than 50 “full time equivalent” workers, a combination of full and part-time employees, but doesn’t offer “affordable” coverage that meets the government’s minimum value standard, the company will have to pay a penalty. This penalty is determined by the number of full-time employees minus 30 full-time employees. So to reiterate a very important point: part-time workers are not part of the penalty formula. The health care law creates a perverse incentive to hire part-time versus full-time workers.”
Tangible examples of Obamacare causing a reduction in full-time workers:
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants, a casual dining chain best known for their Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, is “experimenting with limiting the hours of some of its workers to avoid health care requirements under the Affordable Care Act when they take effect in 2014”.
JANCOA Janitorial Services
The CEO of JANCOA, Mary Miller, testified to Congress that Obamacare was a “dream killer”, adding that one option she had to consider “is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized.”
The American retailer in Cincinnati, Ohio recently was reported to be planning a significant slashing of their hourly workers. Doug Ross writes:
Operative Faith (a mid-level manager with the company) reveals that Kroger will soon join the ranks of Darden Restaurants and slash the hours of its non-exempt (hourly) workers to avoid millions in Obamacare penalties.
According to the source, Obamacare could result in tens of thousands of Kroger employees being limited to working 28 hours per week.
This is by no means, meant to be an exhaustive list. But it is meant to provide examples of real companies, real jobs, and real names, soon to be added to the growing list of employment casualties provided by the inevitable implementation of Obamacare.
Last night, America voted for four more years of President Obama and his destructive economic and health care policies. By extension, America last night voted their approval of the aforementioned layoffs and overall work reduction.
Now we must accept the inevitable. Welcome to mourning in America.