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Flexible work schedules and healthcare costs drive Wonder Bread from California

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 28, 2007

The LA Times reported this morning that the makers of Wonder Bread -- Interstate Bakeries Corp. -- are closing their southern California facilities and leaving 1,300 jobless in the region.  The reason?  Healthcare costs, laws prohibiting flexible work schedules and lack of clarity in meal and rest period mandates.  These challenges are difficult hurdles for all California businesses to overcome and remain competitive.  Without remedy, these issues will continue the state's loss of more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2001.

On Healthcare
As the Legislature proceeds with the healthcare debate, they must understand that the current system is too costly and burdensome on everyone, regardless of who's paying.  Manufacturers in California pay operational costs that are 22 percent higher than the rest of the country and still they provide more health coverage than any other industry in the State. Further, small and medium sized businesses can't do the same thing.  They can't take on expensive coverage and they can't pay a new health tax on top of their already uncompetitive overall costs. 

A reformed health system in California should first address cost drivers -- such as over utilization and lack of prevention -- or it will devastate the insurance market, force more businesses owners and managers, such as the Wonder Bread executives, to re-think their position in California and put at risk both jobs and the premium benefits that many employees now depend upon. 

On flexible work schedules and meal periods

Employers and employees face challenges within the existing work schedule and meal and rest peiod laws.   Today’s workers look for options in structuring their time and contributing to the viability of their employer’s business while maximizing their earnings.  CMTA will be submitting comments later this week  to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement on the growing problem of when and how long a rest period is taken.  Stay tuned ....



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