Miami-Dade Public Schools and WLRN Make Serious Cuts, Supposedly Because of Obamacare

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Miami-Dade County Public Schools and WLRN are both making serious cuts to part-time employee hours, supposedly because of Obamacare.

The cutback will affect "several hundred" school employees, including substitute teachers, custodians, and security guards, according to an MDCPS spokesman. Also seeing their hours slashed are part-time WLRN employees, some of whom are paid by the school district. Many MDCPS employees are furious, especially because the cuts are coming just before the holidays.

"Frankly, I'm not sure how I'm going to manage," one employee said. "Merry fucking Christmas, right?"

Under Obamacare (officially called the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), large employers must provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more.

This new requirement was recently delayed until 2015, but Miami-Dade County Public Schools is cutting back its part-timers' hours now to avoid providing them health care in the future.

Multiple MDCPS employees interviewed by New Times say their hours are being cut from 30 to 25 per week. That's a 17 percent pay cut. Although a waiver will still allow someone to work more than 25 hours, employees say they have been told such waivers are out of the question in the future.

MDCPS spokesman John Schuster confirmed the cuts and their cause:

Fair Labor Standards state that over 30 hours is full-time employment, and this was in place long before the ACA. The District has always required a waiver for more than 25 hours. This does not affect full-time employees; however, it does apply to all part-time employees in the school district, including those district part-time workers at WLRN, which is licensed to the School Board of Miami-Dade County, and waivers have been submitted as needed. Other part-time workers in many departments across the District will be affected. ACA does exacerbate the situation because of requirements for employee health-care coverage.

Miami Dade College also reportedly imposed a 25-hour limit on part-timers earlier this year.

MDCPS employees are enraged by the cuts. Some see Obamacare as a convenient excuse the school district is using to simply slash its payroll.

"What are they going to do with all the money that they are saving by not paying us?" one MDCPS veteran asks. "Because it's a chunk of change. The employer mandate doesn't go into effect until 2015, so it looks to me like they are going to have a windfall because of this."

She says no one seems to have seriously considered the alternative: that the school district pony up and pay for health insurance for all employees working at least 30 hours.

"I'm sure it would be expensive to cover us," she says. "On the other hand, Starbucks continues to offer its employees health insurance. What's wrong with this picture? What's wrong with this country? Why is nobody talking about this?

"This is a lot of money and a lot of people we're talking about. It looks like they are going to make money on our suffering."

She adds that she makes so little as it is that she hasn't been to a sit-down restaurant in two years. Even then, a friend was buying.

"I guess what I need is another job," the MDCPS employee says. "I need a job that is going to pay me enough money to live on.

"I've spoken to these dogs and cats about getting a job to contribute, but they don't seem to be listening," she jokes before turning serious. "I don't know how I'm going to handle this, but it ain't gonna be pretty."

Still, she blames Miami-Dade County Public Schools, not the Obama administration. Her income will be slashed, and scraping by will be harder than ever, but there is a silver lining to this Christmastime cloud of misery.

"Because of Obamacare, I will have something that I haven't had for years, which is health insurance," she says. "Before, I was wondering if I was eligible [for a subsidy]. Now I definitely am."

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The ACA has not alot to do with this particular assault on MDCPS employees. They seem to be using this as an excuse for a pre- emptive strike on folks who have already suffered cutbacks. When I think of public radio I actually don't regard Mr. Labonia as a member of the WLRN work force. Fortunately I have contact with some of the folks that really make that station tick and not the Padrones that threaten them. 


The affordable care Act was delayed a year for employers so they could have a chance to figure out how to make it work. That and the severity of these cuts (not 29 hours, 25 hours) to what are surely the schools' lowest-paid workers (part-time custodians) make this a clear attack on workers. Sure, blame it on Obamacare! Real classy, Miami-Dade schools.

Exiliado topcommenter


Almost forgot:


"I guess what I need is another job," the MDCPS employee says. "I need a job that is going to pay me enough money to live on."


Yes, please, go find another job.

I am sure employers will make a line, fight one another to offer you "a job that is going to pay (you) enough money to live on."

Gimme a break!!

Exiliado topcommenter

By the way, this issue has always been one of the talking points against obamacare. 

It was announced BEFORE the Messiah and his cheerleaders decided to "pass the bill so you can find out what is in it."

Guess What?!!!

Employment cuts is one of the "surprises" that are "in it." 

It is like Capitalism For Dummies. Duh!!!

Now fasten your seat belts. There's a lot more a' comin' and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Exiliado topcommenter

"MDCPS spokesman John Schuster confirmed the cuts and their cause:"

-------------   ----------------------   ------------------   -----------------------   ----

If it was CONFIRMED, then the word "SUPPOSEDLY" in the headline amounts to cheap  manipulation, right?


 Yes, because, who among us hasn’t looked at Miami-Dade County Public Schools and thought: “What this school district needs is more part-time workers.”

Ru Ru H
Ru Ru H

Nothing supposedly about that. You get what you vote for.

Jeffrey Knight
Jeffrey Knight

This is how the Board and Superintendent save money? By shafting its part-timers?

Muse TD
Muse TD

Im sure the politicians making those cuts didnt get any. As always cutting the head first. Lame.

Brian A. Fernandez
Brian A. Fernandez

After 11 yrs at WLRN, I just voluntarily retired at 34. A media outlet that is a public service, operated by a school system, mainly ran on private contributions should have a better loophole to retain a guy running studio cameras, floor managing, training interns, pseudo UPM/2nd AD (now for-hire) teleprompter, grip, and random acts of kindness at the pay schedule of an assistant manager at a fast food joint. Public Broadcasting Service not Private B System.

Steve Klare
Steve Klare

Quit crying. I would bet the vast majority of these folks voted for the Messiah Obama and his transformational plan for this country. Guess what ???? You just got Transformed Suckers!!


This been going on since Obamacare was announced. Corporate America started preparing ahead. I quit my job because of this after hours were cut for my the crew and managers were expected to pull their work. In a meeting I was also told how much more they were going to witheld from my paycheck. We were supposed to select 2 crew members who could work over 30 hrs, everybody else we were supposed to alow 23hrs max. These are workers who get paid minimum wage...  Now more companies and institutions are catching up to this. 

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