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Obamacare the real reason behind last week’s Cubs grounds crew debacle?

Brian Anderson

The Chicago Cubs were embarrassed last Tuesday when their short-staffed grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp over the diamond in time to prevent a rainout, leading to a game being called in the 5thinning in a decision that was quickly overturned by MLB after a protest from the San Francisco Giants.

The Cubs went on to win the continued game last Thursday anyway, but what was particularly interesting was what appears to have led to the grounds crew being short-staffed that night.

An Aug. 22 story on Yahoo! Sports said: “The Chicago Cubs denied an assertion by the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that the tarp debacle earlier in the week against the San Francisco Giants happened because the club short-staffs the grounds crew at Wrigley Field in order to avoid paying health insurance.”

According to the article, the Cubs sent home 10 crew members early that night, with a reason being that it would help to keep them from hitting the 130 hours a month that would require the Cubs to provide them with health care coverage.

The Sun-Times article said staffing issues that hamstrung the grounds crew were “created in part by a wide-ranging reorganization last winter of game-day personnel, job descriptions and work limits designed to keep the seasonal workers – including much of the grounds crew – under 130 hours per month… that’s the full-time worker definition under ‘Obamacare,’ which requires employer-provided healthcare benefits for ‘big businesses’ such as a major league team.”

Surely many companies are acting in a similar fashion; just out of the public eye. But the Cubs caught the spotlight on this one. Many have already accused the Cubs’ new ownership of failing to step up to the plate to put a good product on the field for their dedicated, long-suffering fan base, but apparently it doesn’t stop with the players and extends to all “on-field” talent.

Do you have any stories to share of companies cutting back hours of employees to avoid providing them with health insurance? If so, please share on this thread on the Forum.



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