David Green, CEO of the crafting behemoth Hobby Lobby, has always run his business according to strict Christian principles. That’s why he sued the federal government to overturn the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, because what’s the purpose of religious freedom if you can’t use it to stop your employees getting birth control? So naturally, the CEO consulted the man upstairs on how best to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. And after much prayerful reflection, Green has decided that, until the Health Department or Jesus Christ himself shut them down, all 900-plus Hobby Lobbys are staying open.
“In my family, [my wife] Barbara is the prayer warrior,” Green allegedly wrote to his 32,000 employees, who were doubtless reassured that Mrs. Green’s prayers are shielding them like an impenetrable veil of holy Purell.
In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. Guide, Guard, and Groom. We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.
Then Green, whose net worth is $6 billion, warned that “we may all have to ‘tighten our belts’ over the near future” to maintain the company’s low debt ratio.
And you thought your managing partner was dysfunctional!
Now, to be fair, this memo has not been authenticated by Hobby Lobby’s corporate offices. But neither has it been denied, and today Business Insider reached out to a Hobby Lobby regional manager, who confirmed that the company intends to stay open come H-E-double-hockey-sticks or high water.
“Our management has doubled down on the work stance, and the district manager has said that our stores will remain open until the National Guard comes in and physically shuts the buildings down,” the source told BI. Idle hands — and cash registers — are the devil’s playground after all, so it’s essential to the health of the nation that customers can browse for Mod Podge in a national emergency,.
The source also authenticated a March 23 all-employee memo from Randy Betts, Senior VP of Store Operations detailing plans for stores closed by local ordinance which recently surfaced online.
If stores are shuttered by local authorities, employees will be forced to exhaust “all available paid time-off benefits (e.g., Vacation Pay, Personal Time Off, Personal/Sick Pay),” after which they’ll be eligible for “75% of their regular rate of pay for two weeks following the exhaustion of all available paid time off benefits.” Two whole weeks, how very X-tian!
After the two weeks, employees will be cast out into the wilderness, where they are “encouraged to contact their local unemployment offices to determine whether they are eligible for unemployment benefits.”
Employees who are sick or who come into contact with a sick person “should request time off, a leave of absence, or an accommodation related to COVID-19.” None of those words sound like paid sick leave. In fact, they sound like a strong disincentive for hourly workers, dependent on Hobby Lobby for their income and health insurance, to STFU and keep coming to work if they’ve been exposed to a person with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
No doubt, these employees on “unpaid leave of absence until further notice” will take comfort in the sermonizing of their billionaire overlord, who writes, “My and Barbara’s confidence, and comfort, comes in large part from knowing that you are a part of our Hobby Lobby family.”
Does Hobby Lobby sell a needle with an eye big enough for a rich man to get into heaven after firing employees who are exposed to a highly contagious virus at work when “an employee or customer reports that he/she has been diagnosed with COVID-19?” Asking for a well known American craft tycoon!
In a leaked memo, Hobby Lobby refuses to give workers paid sick leave during the coronavirus pandemic [Business Insider]
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