Wegmans cuts health benefits for part-time workers

posted at 3:21 pm on July 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

If you live somewhere along the north eastern seaboard and have shopped at one of Wegmans 80+ glorious grocery stores, I’m going to go ahead and venture that you probably agree with me that it is The Most Fantastic Grocery Store in the history of grocery stores. My friends have often heard my vociferous, nay, my passionate remarks about how Wegmans is like Disneyland for grownups; in my experience, they have everything you could ever hope to find at either a Safeway or a Whole Foods, with reasonable prices and helpful employees to boot.

What’s more, Wegmans gets a bunch of accolades for taking the best care of its employees and its work environment. For sixteen consecutive years, they’ve been on the “Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For” list, coming in at number five for 2013:

Wegmans Food Markets

Rank: 5
Previous rank: 4
2011 revenue ($ millions): $6,335

What makes it so great?
Turnover is an exceptionally low 3.6% at the Northeastern grocery chain, which lets employees reward one another with gift cards for good service. Many workers like it there so much they bring in relatives—one in five employees are related.

And until now, Wegmans has voluntarily offered health plans for even their part-time employees who work only 20+ hours a week, although the law only requires them to do so for employees who work 30+ hours a week.

But no more.

The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit. …

Several Wegmans employees confirmed part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act. …

Wegmans declined to comment.

“As a private company, we don’t share specifics of our employee benefits programs. It’s a given that health care reform will result in some changes to our benefits program, but it will not change our commitment to meeting the needs of our employees,” Wegmans said in a statement.

The news item is quick to note that a certain ilk will interpret this as a positive; that employers dropping coverage is somehow a “win-win” because not only can these part-time employees, newly without the option of receiving health care plans through their employer, qualify for subsidized insurance plans with potentially more comprehensive coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges (although, anyone can pretty much just lie about that requirement), but also that the “employer gets to lower costs.”

But, if the employees will (supposedly) be paying lower out-of-pocket costs, and the employer is no longer directly bearing the costs… who, exactly, is paying for all of this ostensibly stupendous coverage, as well as the expensive and top-heavy bureaucratic system through which it is going to come? Anyone? Anyone?


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As someone who was born and raised in Rochester NY, I will attest to this…

it is The Most Fantastic Grocery Store in the history of grocery stores.

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

“Egggzellent…”

Akzed on July 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

But they’ll be giving everyone raises for the exact amount, I’m sure.

Chuck Schick on July 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

If the GOP wasn’t a cold dead corpse, they would be taking advantage of this. Blame Obama for hurting 4,000 workers and their children.

faraway on July 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Fwew! Now they can keep the price of my favorite Welsh artisan grass-fed sheep cheese at $21.88 per pound.

forest on July 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Where all the well-to-do liberals in my neck of the woods shop.

CurtZHP on July 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

21.88 per pound.

forest

Pffft – third of a kilo you barbarian.

Wander on July 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

What about Wawa? It ain’t news till it happens at the Wawa.

:P

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on July 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Physicians would do a better job of reforming the legal system than the lawyers have done with “reforming” health care.

NoDonkey on July 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Having recently moved from Northern Virginia, moving hours away from the closest Wegman’s is one of my few regrets.

makattak on July 11, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Fwew! Now they can keep the price of my favorite Welsh artisan grass-fed sheep cheese at $21.88 per pound.

forest on July 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Or you can buy Kraft. You are free to choose.

Your Soviet island of life control is not where I want to live.

crash72 on July 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Physicians would do a better job of reforming the legal system than the lawyers have done with “reforming” health care.

NoDonkey on July 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Well, yes, considering that the term “reforming” for lawyers doesn’t mean the same thing to the rest of us.

hawkeye54 on July 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM

“We HAD to pass it so that you can see what’s in it!”

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

ObamaCare IS REVENUE NEUTRAL!

GarandFan on July 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Um… how many folks working 20 hours or less per week even have the means to afford ANY health Ins. ?

20 HOURS PER WEEK !!!

This is either second/third job hours or students making a few bucks.

I live in Rochester and happily shop at Wegmans. Lots of young folks working there.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Publix or Stop-and-Shop.

Robert_Paulson on July 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I’m from Rochester and have lived all over the world and there is no better grocery store chain than Wegmans. Period. When I lived in D.C., I used to drive 45 mins to their store in Fairfax to avoid the crap Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter stores nearby. And Wegmans sells Zweigle’s hots! Mmmm…

As for their decision, we told you lefties that ObamaCare had perverse incentives for employers, and we were right. TOLD YOU SO! We were also correct in our predictions that the law would cost way more than $900 billion, that insurance premiums would skyrocket and that the law was too complicated to implement.

rcpjr on July 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Wegmans is the greatest grocery store. Period. No debate.

tyketto on July 11, 2013 at 3:48 PM

SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE!

timberline on July 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Several Wegmans employees confirmed part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act. …

Coming soon to your nearest employer.

timberline on July 11, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Hopefully they won’t try to build any stores in the DC area.

RoadRunner on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Syracuse NY. Wegmans is the best. Though I’ll also say that they haven’t been hiring a whole lot the past few years either, especially not full time. At least around here… They do take great care of their employees, but doing so in this climate is expensive, so I don’t blame them one bit here.

Gingotts on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

“We HAD to pass it so that you can see what’s in it!”

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

ObamaCare IS REVENUE NEUTRAL!

GarandFan on July 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Fond memories…sigh.

timberline on July 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Ack, I would have to live on the eastern seaboard? I’d rather have a toothpick jammed under each fingernail and then inject Shrirachan hot sauce in the little holes.

And since when is Disneyland NOT for grownups?

I saw a similar story about a month ago featuring the Wholefoods CEO. I don’t tend to go there, since I can’t bring myself to wear the required amount of patchouli oil.

CostCo…now that’s a DisneyWhirled!

kirkill on July 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

visions on July 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Fwew! Now they can keep the price of my favorite Welsh artisan grass-fed sheep cheese at $21.88 per pound.

forest on July 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

And the truffles at $100+/lb. Can’t forget the truffles.

Youngs98 on July 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Hopefully they won’t try to build any stores in the DC area.

RoadRunner on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

DCers can just come out to one of their stores in Ashburn, Leesburg, or the new one up in Frederick MD.

Youngs98 on July 11, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Just a little insight beyond the reporting.

As a Rochesterian i am heppy to report that the local community lead by the local media is now angry against the grocery chain- not the president and his foolish minions. Welcome to the blue state of New York.

Ironically this city – which is home to the chain- also was home to the founder of PayChex who left the state to flee it’s ridiculously high and punitive income taxes. He too was criticized for his selfishness. Libs don’t get math.

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Syracuse NY. Wegmans is the best. Though I’ll also say that they haven’t been hiring a whole lot the past few years either, especially not full time. At least around here… They do take great care of their employees, but doing so in this climate is expensive, so I don’t blame them one bit here.

Gingotts on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Wegmans has an interesting philosophy regarding customer service. That is, “Keep the employees happy and they’ll keep the customers happy.”
You’ll see very few companies putting their employees first. Wegmans does.

IT WORKS !

Absent the addition of any new stores, their very low turnover rate would put a dent in any hiring

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

THANK YOU Chuck Schumer!
THANK YOU Kristen Gillibrand!
THANK YOU President Obama!

They voted for it. They got it.

SaveFarris on July 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

PS. Its good to see so many HA trolls with roots in Rochester. Who knew?

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Um… how many folks working 20 hours or less per week even have the means to afford ANY health Ins. ?

20 HOURS PER WEEK !!!

This is either second/third job hours or students making a few bucks.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Wegman’s aside, anyone could afford health insurance if the market was actually allowed to operate. Healthy young people could purchase a cheap, “catastrophic” plan and pay out of pocket for physicals, etc. at places like Walmart or pharmacies. People with “pre-existing conditions” could join a large high-risk pool, etc. People who are really, actually in trouble (a very small percentage) could be subsidized.

Unfortunately the health insurance market was pummeled by over-regulation and excessive government interference. Then came ObamaCare, which doubled-down on everything wrong.

visions on July 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Unfortunately the health insurance market was pummeled by over-regulation and excessive government interference. Then came ObamaCare, which doubled-down on everything wrong.

visions on July 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

bingo.

kirkill on July 11, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Hopefully they won’t try to build any stores in the DC area.

RoadRunner on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Duh. Google is your friend. Remove finger from your nose.

crash72 on July 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM

PS. Its good to see so many HA trolls with roots in Rochester. Who knew?

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Agree ! Thought I was all alone up here.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Wegmans has an interesting philosophy regarding customer service. That is, “Keep the employees happy and they’ll keep the customers happy.”
You’ll see very few companies putting their employees first. Wegmans does.

IT WORKS !

Absent the addition of any new stores, their very low turnover rate would put a dent in any hiring

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Indeed. Plus the fact that you really have to try to get laid off or fired from there. And yet unlike other sectors controlled by unions and tenure preventing layoffs and firings, they tend not to have a whole lot of corrupt or incompetent employees. Amazing how the private sector can work…

It isn’t just the low turnover though. They’ve been doing as other businesses have and just merging or eliminating positions when employees leave or retire. It’s brought new hiring from low to nil. That they mentioned that this is due to Obamacare is striking too. They’re a smart business that tries to keep a friendly face, do good, and avoid wading into political debates. For them to mention such a thing, even just to employees, proves they’ve had to work around this administration’s detrimental crap for a while and are quite fed up with it. Again, not the only ones in that regard either.

Gingotts on July 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Those rich greedy corporate Nazi’s are dumping on the poor workers for profit so they can have second home getaways and another SUV.
libfreeordie///

docflash on July 11, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Businesses must act rationally. Governments do not.

In a nutshell, that is the conflict.

KCsecurity1976 on July 11, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Publix or Stop-and-Shop.

Robert_Paulson on July 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Oooof! Stop-n-Shop regularly rated one of the worst. along with Publix.

Don’t taze me bro, but Wegmans makes SnS look like a mom and pop shop. Can’t beat a $6 lunch from the cold prepared foods counter (pulled pork, mac-n-cheese, and bread pudding)

smfic on July 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Wegmans. What a Godsend. There’s a young man who lives in my house, eats my groceries and shares my last name that has been working at Wegmans for four plus years and going to community college. In six weeks he starts Virginia Tech as a Junior and will pay half of that ticket on his own thanks to his thrift and a fantabulous grocery store chain from upstate New York.

I made myself a bumper sticker: “Proud Parent of a Young Man with a STEADY JOB.”

Galtian on July 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Syracuse NY. Wegmans is the best.

Gingotts on July 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

That’s a tough one. It’s hard to beat Wegman’s flagship store in Pittsford, NY. The Market Cafe alone is two stories, which is as large as the store itself, and includes a Bar&Grill style eatery, and an entire area devoted to cooking classes.

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

And Wegmans sells Zweigle’s hots! Mmmm…

rcpjr on July 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Looks interesting. Thanks for the link. Hope they ship to Nebraska.

a capella on July 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

That’s a tough one. It’s hard to beat Wegman’s flagship store in Pittsford, NY. The Market Cafe alone is two stories, which is as large as the store itself, and includes a Bar&Grill style eatery, and an entire area devoted to cooking classes.

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Note the period in my original statement. I’m not claiming which Wegmans is the best, but stating my location and then (generically) Wegmans is the best. I’d expect the number one Wegmans to be one of those nearer to where they were originally founded in the Rochester area.

That said, we’ve got a bar&grill sort of thing and a smaller scale cooking class thing in at least one of the Liverpool stores. They like to spread out the cool stuff, mainly in the suburban areas.

Gingotts on July 11, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Looks interesting. Thanks for the link. Hope they ship to Nebraska.

a capella on July 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

I get them shipped to California for my brother.
Try the skin encased white hots.
Put ‘em on the grill and the skin pops open when done.
Best HD in the world.

Note : do NOT put ketchup o these beauties. Yellow Mustard only.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM

And Wegmans sells Zweigle’s hots! Mmmm…

rcpjr on July 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Zweigle’s are amazing. Western NY doesn’t have a lot going for it, other than some of the best food in the country. A trip from Georgia to the Rochester area to visit the folks is never complete without a trip to DiBella’s, Tom Wahls, Wegman’s, and Abbotts during summer trips.

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Wegmans! My favorite supermarket in the world! I am a connoisseur of supermarkets and this is the best in every way. I was headed there today but bad brakes had another plan for me.

I’m sure Danny Wegman did everything possible for his employees.

vityas on July 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

I have farmer friends where I can get most everything fresh, and usually I barter for the really good stuff like sides of bacon and ribs so fresh they’re practically still connected to a sternum.

Grocery stores. Pffffft.

Bishop on July 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

As one who can find fault in and nitpick to death even things about Wegmans, I cannot find fault with your very nice write up on it, Erika. It truly is a great supermarket.

Dusty on July 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM

That’s a tough one. It’s hard to beat Wegman’s flagship store in Pittsford, NY. The Market Cafe alone is two stories, which is as large as the store itself, and includes a Bar&Grill style eatery, and an entire area devoted to cooking classes.

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

NEVER go to Pittsford Wegman’s on a Sunday afternoon. It’s full of tourists. I mean PACKED! People just strolling around the different sample stations = Gourmet Gridlock!

kooly on July 11, 2013 at 5:28 PM

We love our Wegmans! It is the greatest supermarket in the world! When they came to town.. all our other supermarkets tried to copy them.. but all fell short!

They are the standard of what a supermarket should be! It’s hard to even call them a supermarket… they aren’t even in the same category, really.

JellyToast on July 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM

NEVER go to Pittsford Wegman’s on a Sunday afternoon. It’s full of tourists. I mean PACKED! People just strolling around the different sample stations = Gourmet Gridlock!

kooly on July 11, 2013 at 5:28 PM

The only time that particular store is not full of people is between 3 and 4 AM.

It IS truly a wonderful store, but suffers from it’s popularity.

6 PM any weekday it is packed.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Looks interesting. Thanks for the link. Hope they ship to Nebraska.

a capella on July 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

I get them shipped to California for my brother.
Try the skin encased white hots.
Put ‘em on the grill and the skin pops open when done.
Best HD in the world.

Note : do NOT put ketchup o these beauties. Yellow Mustard only.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Agreed. The white hots are the best. If you’re feeling adventurous, try them with Rochester-style, meat-based hot sauce. Zweigel’s makes a mix with easy-to-follow directions, available here. Oh man, I may have to go grill a couple now…

rcpjr on July 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Living in the suburbs of Rochester. No better grocery store in the world than Wegmans, and I’ve been all around it several times.

Every time I receive a visitor from out west or somewhere, and we stop in Wegmans, to a man or woman they say “I’ve never seen a grocery store this nice, anywhere, in my life!”

It is a fact.

Dirty Creature on July 11, 2013 at 6:04 PM

It IS truly a wonderful store, but suffers from it’s popularity.

6 PM any weekday it is packed.

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

They have the best pastry counter of all the stores in the area, though. Those chocolate domes are insane.

Dirty Creature on July 11, 2013 at 6:06 PM

For those not familiar with Wegman’s, it is where the upper-crusty, high income beautiful people shop.

I’ve actually worked out near Rochester and have a sister near there.

I kid you not, when I go shopping there, there is a high number of attractive/hot women there. Great place to cruise for babes if you are a single guy.

They should lay off the men, and keep the cute ladies and they would probably get more men shopping there.

KirknBurker on July 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Holy cow! My sister lives in Pittsford. I had no idea that was the flagship store. Weird.

KirknBurker on July 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

I saw a similar story about a month ago featuring the Wholefoods CEO. I don’t tend to go there, since I can’t bring myself to wear the required amount of patchouli oil. resent the fact that shopping for my groceries must be turned into an expeeeerience.
kirkill on July 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Cleombrotus on July 11, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Spent some time in Gates, Chili (pronounced CHY-LYE, thank you) Webster, Irondaquoit, Canandaigua and various other places in liberal, western NY but I will agree wholeheartedly, NOTHING compares to a Wegman’s and everybody except the trolls here love them.

Mr. Grump on July 11, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Hotair happy hour at Winfield in Rochester in August. Any takers?

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Hotair happy hour at Winfield in Rochester in August. Any takers?

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Thirsty’s in Pittsford ?

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

[Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM]

I’d show up.

Dusty on July 11, 2013 at 6:27 PM

I shopped at the Wegman’s near Princeton, N.J. Wegmans is the greatest grocery chain on the planet.

Thanks, Barry, for screwing this country with your socialist healthcare scheme.

Philly on July 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Thirsty’s in Pittsford ?

Jabberwock on July 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Yep! LJ will pull us each a cold one!

kooly on July 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Thirstys.
The bar of white males. Perfect

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I shopped at the Wegman’s near Princeton, N.J. Wegmans is the greatest grocery chain on the planet.

Thanks, Barry BAMSTAHHHHHHH!!!!!! YOU DA MANNNNN BAMMY BABYY!!!! LOVE YA BARRY OL BUDDY OL PALL!!!!!!! YAAHHHHHHh!!!!!!!!!

Phil on , 2013 at 6:

cableguy615 on July 11, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Wow, who could have seen this coming?

Chris of Rights on July 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Syracuse, NY has a number of Wegman’s stores. The best one is in Dewitt, a bedroom community of Syracuse. The prepared foods section goes on for miles. In the summer the produce section is filled with produce from local farms. Wegman’s has agreements with producers all over the world from which they get fabulous food. They offer a Spanish salt-cured ham that is $100lb and worth every penny. The most fun thing is Christmas Day — watching people with their noses pressed up against the glass because the store is closed. They look so lost.

IdrilofGondolin on July 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM

isn’t this the plan, to have companies get out of the insurance game so we can go to a total government program?

phillypolitics on July 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM

Good to see all the Rochester/NYS folks out tonight. Spencerport native here – Wegmans is amazing and was one of the very first places I took my now-wife when we visited Rochester for the first time. The produce and prepared foods are especially outstanding, but the real reason Wegmans works is because the people who work there are smart, attuned to the customer, and hard-working. They know their area of the store (bakery, seafood, deli, etc.) like xpert small business owners. Attention is paid to ensure a high level of quality across the board.

It does not surprise me in the slightest that the locals blame Wegmans, however. In upstate NY many people have a strong entitlement attitude vis-a-vis employers. If conditions don’t meet their definition of “fair” than the people running the joint MUST be S.O.B.s – even if there are legitimate, competitive business considerations at play. There is just not a strong identification with the entrepreneur or business owners in general. There IS a strong identification with government, however, and a blinkered view that big government is always a good thing.

I blame this on the proliferation of large, stable, and generous employers in the Rochester area that have had cozy relationships with government (or are government itself) for decades – Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Xerox, the state of New York, various universities and colleges, local school districts. If you have a job in Rochester, it’s likely to be a pretty decent one – but partly as a result, there just aren’t that many jobs, and there is very little economic growth or dynamism. It’s been 1983 for 30 years in Rochester.

But damn, the food is good!

Management Side on July 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Sharknado to cure everyone’s ills

Bensonofben on July 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

try them with Rochester-style, meat-based hot sauce.

rcpjr on July 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Thanks for the Nick Tahou’s flashback!

HarryBackside on July 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM