A group of Racine County residents is inviting, well, everyone to participate in "Local. Pizza. Friday." this Friday to send a message to Papa John's owner John Schnatter.
Schnatter recently announced he will raise prices on pizza and reduce employee hours to balance out increased costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But a story at Forbes.com says that the $100 million company will only see a .4 to .7 percent increase in healthcare costs for employees working 30 or more hours a week as required by the ACA.
To support the employees of Papa John's, and to try send the chain a message, some local residents, including Patch columnist Heather Rayne Geyer, are organizing a day to eat at locally owned pizza restaurants.
"Papa John's owner has decided to combat the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare) by increasing his prices, threatening terminations and lowering employee hours - simply to avoid and protest employee health benefits," the invitation reads. "Find a local pizza joint like Wells Bros in your area and send Papa John's a message while supporting your local businesses."
A fan and customer of Papa John's created a Facebook event to promote Papa John's Pizza Day this Friday after he got wind of a bunch of boycott events across the country and over 15,000 Facebook users have already vowed to support the company's efforts.
"Papa Johns has been targeted by the left for a boycott, for simply articulating that ObamaCare would hurt profits and force cutbacks in employee hours. Stand up to this nonsensical and illogical action and support Papa Johns this Friday," the post reads.
One supporter on this Facebook event page said she will make a point of eating at Papa John's on Friday because she admires Schnatter standing up to the president's healthcare mandate.
"(I will eat there) because we admire him for not getting bullied. Face it, most of the employees are kids that can still be under their parents insurance until their 26 now anyway," wrote Leslie Beaty Jenkins.
Here at home, Angie Aker said she is going to participate in the Papa John's boycott event because she thinks there needs to be a change in the way people think about how employees are treated compared to how companies are regarded.
"Most (corporations) have turned larger profits than ever. So the idea that they are going to suffer by being made to treat employees with dignity, give them decent benefits, a living wage, is only valid if you have the attitude that corporations should be able to just make unlimited profit no matter who they trample on," she said.
Todd Streeter said it's all about supporting local businesses.
"I'm participating because I believe supporting small business owners who statistically are proven to reinvest more of their revenue back into their communities is the right thing to do," he said. "(This is) a grassroots action to simply make a conscientious effort to spend my hard earned money on businesses that offer a fantastic product and reinvest in our community."
Heather Mullee doesn't live in the area, but said she will participate in her town anyway.
"I'll be ordering pizza from a local place in Montana and sending my receipt to Papa John's," she posted on Facebook. "Although we don't have one in our town...hopefully the message will still get through."