Some Blame Cubs' Short-Staffing, Canceled Game on Obamacare

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 06:22 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Image: Some Blame Cubs' Short-Staffing, Canceled Game on Obamacare
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Obamacare is getting the blame for an embarrassing game cancellation at Wrigley Field on Tuesday – a grounds crew that battled haplessly with a tarp during a torrential rainfall was understaffed because Cubs' management reportedly slashed hours to skirt paying healthcare benefits.

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted unnamed sources saying the Cubs organization cut the hours of its seasonal workers to keep them under 130 hours per month – the full-time definition under the Affordable Care Act.

The limit allows big companies to avoid the requirement for offering health benefits under Obamacare.

Other employers across the country are also cutting worker hours to avoid the additional costs of maintaining full-time workers.

Sources told the Sun-Times that 10 crew members were sent home early Tuesday night before a sudden downpour, leaving a skeletal crew of 15 to wrestle with a tarp to protect the field.

Story continues below video.

The game was called as a win for President Barack Obama’s hometown Cubs after 4½ innings because of poor field conditions, but the San Francisco Giants lodged a protest, and won.

The Cubs held on for a 2-1 win when the game was restarted Thursday.

"Cheap," one of three officials from other organizations called the Cubs' management strategy. "Embarrassing, and they got caught," another said, according to the Sun-Times.

Team spokesman Julian Green conceded, "There have been organizational changes," but added:

"This unfortunate incident had nothing to do with staffing hours. There was a bizarre weather system — we had a microburst of rain that wasn’t in the forecast — and the tarp wasn’t pulled until well after it started raining, which added to the challenge."

The website Sports Grid noted the Cubs were named the eighth-most profitable team in  Major League Baseball last year, and the NBC Sports blog Hard Ball Talk reported the Cubs' owners are "well-known partisan Republicans with a decidedly anti-Obama tilt."

"If there's a team which is going to go out of its way to avoid having to pay Obamacare benefits, it's not shocking that the Cubs are that team," according to the blog.

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