Obamacare Call Center Baits-and-Switches Workers Into Part-Time Jobs Without Health Coverage

Reason 24/7ReasonFrom the Department of You... Just... Can't... Make... This... Up comes word that a California call center — one of three established in the state to help promote the Affordable Care Act and answer questions about the new law — is largely staffed by part-time workers who receive no benefits. That means, the people touting Obamacare will receive no health coverage under the scheme.

From Contra Costa Times:

CONCORD -- Earlier this year, Contra Costa County won the right to run a health care call center, where workers will answer questions to help implement the president's Affordable Care Act. Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.

Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits -- a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.

The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process -- which attracted about 7,000 applicants -- a "comedy of errors."

What makes this situation even more comical, though not necessarily for the people working at the call center, is that many of the center's staff "left other full-time jobs for the call center positions," only to be invited to very special chats once they were committed.

Orientation and training started in July, but stopped on the afternoon of July 18, when employees were told they would have private meetings about their positions, the employee said.

"It reminded me of that George Clooney movie where he goes around the country firing people ('Up in the Air')," the employee said. "The woman said, 'I know you were led to believe you would be full time, but things have changed. ... You are actually 'part-time intermittent.'"

Perhaps "part-time intermittent" is a euphemism for "a victim of bureaucratic irony."

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  • Auric Demonocles||

    The tech support/call center/rotational program I worked in for the first few months after grad school gave me full benefits, quarterly bonuses, a ton of training, a salary higher than the median household income in both the country and my state, and an opportunity to transfer to a permanent position of my choice. Damn that private sector, oppressing me!

  • Agoraphobic||

    What's the link to the website?

    Botting, how does it work?

  • in4mation||

    I think they could sue if they were offered one job, left the other and then had the position change before they started. Get that offer in writing folks.

  • some guy||

    Exactly. This is what contracts are for.

  • Rasilio||

    In writing is important but not strictly required since the law recognizes verbal contracts, it is just easier to prove the bait and switch with one. In this case I don't think that it would be too difficult to prove even without a written contract.

  • Tonio||

    FTFA, there was a lot of publicity about this and the jobs were always listed as full-time.

    This has the potential to be the perfect storm of government incompetence.

    Bonus: SEIU is pissed.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I have absolutely no pity for anyone involved. Like the contractors on the death star, sucks to be you, but you took the job with no regards to the real world ramifications of the work you were doing and deserve to go down with the ship.

  • some guy||

    PPACA just keeps finding new ways to alienate its supporters. And yet its supporters keep refusing to be alienated. I wonder how many of these part timers still support the law...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well of course the government can't afford to give them health insurance right now, as an employer. It's too important to get everyone else healthcare via the government. Once the government is giving everyone health insurance as the government, they won't need it to give them insurance as an employer!

  • some guy||

    Well, these part timers will still be able to participate in the exchanges. And with their lower than expected wages they will probably qualify for some nice subsidies. Win-win?

  • Doctor Whom||

    I just keep walking into doors.

  • Tonio||

    I can't be so harsh. Managers, sure. Low-level people who need a job, any job, not so much. It's not like they're sending people to the gas chambers or anything.

    Now, this will surely be a PR disaster unless the legacy media buries it.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    unless the legacy media buries it

    And that's exactly what will happen. Even if someone slips up and reports on it, it will be blamed on Rethuglicans somehow. Probably funding or some bullshit.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Tears of infinite sadness, etc etc.

    OT: God? Y/N/Maybe/Don't Know.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Forgot Don't Care.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Irony is a bitch

  • Sevo||

    If you think the workers are getting the bait-and-switch, just wait'll you see what the 'customers' get!

  • Tonio||

    Give him a hand, folks! And he's here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

  • Tim||

    "You fucked up. You trusted us!"

  • Luddite||

    I didn't know Animal House was a documentary. It has awoken new insight in me.

  • Legate Damar||

    Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.

    Really? In Contra Costa county? That ain't no backwater outpost where 200 jobs will keep the town drunk in whiskey because they can't find anyone else to fill the position. Contra Costa is a large and economically strong area. "Area politicians" have rejected proposals for projects that created many more jobs than that, I assure you.

    Although, to be fair, those jobs would have been creating evil profit rather than informing the nation of the healthcare singularity, so they clearly weren't as fulfilling, even if they did come with benefits.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Haaah haaaah!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits -- a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.

    The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process -- which attracted about 7,000 applicants -- a "comedy of errors."

    Is this an invitation to laugh at their expense? I think it's an invitation to laugh at their expense. I'm just to going to laugh at their expense.

    HA!

  • Paul.||

    The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process -- which attracted about 7,000 applicants -- a "comedy of errors."

    So, when one government agency has to work with another government agency, do you think any of the players involved become more libertarian?

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