Hobby Lobby employee touts generous pay and benefits

January 8, 2013

The Daily Beast reported last Friday that national retailer Hobby Lobby became the largest corporation to defy new Affordable Care Act regulations, after the Oklahoma-based chain announced that it would refuse to comply with requirements to provide employees with insurance coverage for emergency contraception. The company risks a $1.3-million fine per day.

On Dec. 26, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who hears emergency appeals for the U.S. 10th Circuit, refused to block the new regulations which is part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that Hobby Lobby must comply while it awaits a decision in federal court.

Hobby Lobby has 500 stores and over 13,000 employees. The Green family, who owns the chain, doesn’t object to preventive contraceptives, but doesn’t want to pay for Plan B contraceptives, commonly known as morning-after pills.

A worker at the Hobby Lobby in Pensacola wrote me defending the company, its above-the-local-wage starting pay and its benefits package:

Hi Mr Outzen, I so enjoy reading your blogs and posts! But I would like to gently disagree with your Hobby Lobby post from 12/29. You see I have worked for Hobby Lobby for 13 years and know the truth. Our benefits pkg which does include contraceptives is very generous. The only issue the Greens have is with the plan B “abortion” pill.

It’s really a shame that responsible journalists have not asked the employees how they feel!

I am a designer and could work anywhere but I chose Hobby Lobby because of the integrity of the Green family and because they are so generous to employees. Starting wage for FT is $13 an hour.

Thanks for all you do for our community and for taking the time to read this.

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  • Melissa January 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    A while back my 13 year old daughter was raped. At the time they tested her she was not pregnant and they gave Plan B to her to stop fertilization from happening. I am not found of abortion. I was an unwed mother. I just feel there are circumstances for why things are created. I am not going to get into rape issues because I do believe it is best to always keep the option of life of the child as a first choice, but there are circumstances that can make that choice very difficult for woman. I myself find it very hypocritical of Hobby Lobby to say how against abortion they are when they buy things made in China. China makes woman have abortions if they have more than one child, and I am not sure if any other sort of birth control is allowed. I will not go to Hobby Lobby for this reason. Not because of the religious beliefs which I believe they are entitled too but the double standards of it is OK if it benefits them as a business. If it is religious reasons don’t buy from China.

  • Moose January 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Ames, nobody is arguing whether they can take a medication or not. They would still have the ability to walk in to a pharmacy and pay for it on their own. You are trying to insinuate otherwise. The argument is whether you can force others who, on the basis of their religious freedom, must pay for a medication that does something in conflict with their beliefs. There is no law stating that an employer must provide a health insurance plan for their employees. Furthermore, they can avoid penalties by reducing hours if they must. Businesses don’t exist to provide the financial mechanism for their employees to pay for their healthcare.

    You really don’t know what someone would do if their employer asked them to have a surgical procedure? Riiiggghht. I think in your arguement a better question would have been, what would I do if my employer told me the health insurance plan they help me fund won’t cover medications in association with a male contraceptive? Gee..I don’t know. That’s a tough predicament. I guess I would either have to stop having sex or I would go pay for it out of my own pocket like the responsible adult that I am. Only a liberal would take that matter to the government to forcefully mandate another person to pay for something I should be responsible for because of my own actions.

  • Ames January 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    It actually prevents pregnancy from occurring.
    Many women cannot take birth control pills for various reasons, and many are unaware that a safe method of contraception is found in OTC spermicidal products.
    But the point is that each woman has the right to make her own personal health care decisions based on her own personal circumstances and no one else has the right to interfere with that, or deny her access to the medical care she needs because that person doesn’t “approve”. They might want to consider that they could be opening a can if worms. Women don’t take kindly to others sticking their noses in their business and tend to retaliate by returning the offensive behavior right back to the meddlesome offender. And nobody, nobody, respects or admires a Mr. or Ms. Busybody.

    What would you think if your employer decided you should have a vasectomy?

  • Moose January 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Ames….Plan B is taken after intercourse, whereas the other methods are used prior to intercourse. Furthermore, Plan B does prevent a fertilized egg (conception) from attaching to the uterus which prevents the pregnancy from being carried out. Therefore, individuals and businesses who believe life begins at conception won’t want to use Plan B or provide others the ability to take it.

  • Ames January 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Moose-plan B prevents conception the same way that other forms of hormonal contraceptives which are either oral, injected, or implanted do. They just keep the various female hormones from changing to the fertile formula, so to speak. A woman is not always fertile, that only occurs a few hours out of the month.

  • HazeMotes January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    #1. Employment at any given place is not a right. #2. Where a person works is an agreement between the employee and the employer. Unfortunately, the federal government continues to undermine and complicate those two simple notions.

  • Moose January 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Ames, considering slavery was abolished and people aren’t forced into providing labor, they do not have to work for an employer with whom they disagree on issues like this. Plain and simple.

    Regarding your point about “Plan B” medication, you have to consider the company’s values in terms of what they consider to be an abortion. They believe life starts at conception. If the Plan B medication aborts the pregnancy after conception and they don’t want to promote that practice, then that is their religious right.

  • Ames January 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Does an employer have a right to impose their own personal health care decisions or their own religious beliefs on their employees? Does an employer have a right to enforce their own personal committments on their employees who are members of their own religious organization? If so, where will the boundary of religious enforcement lie? Floggings, caning?

    I don’t find a citation confirming SEIU sought exclusion from providing birth control for their members.

  • joe January 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Why didn’t Hobby Lobby apply for a waiver?

    Interesting to google “affordable care act waiver list” and the first link is a propoganda piece from the SEIU, which received the waiver. Further, the number of employees belonging to unions receiving health care act waivers was nearly tenfold the number of private company employees receiving waivers.

  • Ames January 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My first questions for the “employee” would be how many people work at the local store and how many of those current employees were hired on as full-time employees. I am also curious whether the employees share the same religious beliefs as the Green family, because this is about religion, not business. Can, and should, an employer be allowed to impose their own religious beliefs on their employees? Then comes the question; if the court rules that that Hobby Lobby cannot deny their employees this single dose of medication (and a patient is stupid enough to not pay for the med out of pocket) and an employee uses the benefit, can they be fired? When do health care privacy laws kick in? And by all means, let’s extract the lie from Hobby Lobby’s position on Plan B…it is not an abortion pill, it is simply a pill that changes a woman’s hormone levels ever so slightly, and temporarily that makes the “environment” of the uterus infertile. These pills are used shortly after unprotected sexual activity…a broken condom, unanticipated activity, rape. By the time an egg is fertilized and pregnancy can be determined it is waaaay to late for Plan B.