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Should Stores Forgo Early Black Friday Hours in Consideration of Workers?

Walmart employees nationwide are threatening to strike after learning "Black Friday" store hours start at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Target has received some backlash as well.

Walmart workers across the country are striking due to the stores opening earlier this year for the Black Friday weekend. Before Thanksgiving, more than 1,000 worksite actions are expected to take place nationwide.

Walmart employees all over the country have been striking for the past few months in protest to various complaint such as "being silenced, long hours and little pay and issues with healthcare."

"This is happening at about 250 stores and there are just as many workers who have walked off their jobs,” said Beth Pointer, an organizer for Making Change at Walmart.

In October, associates leading the strikes originally gave Walmart until Black Friday to meet their demands, including an opportunity to discuss their concerns with management and the end of alleged retaliations for speaking out. However, Walmart employees have continued to strike at different locations across the country.

Target has also gotten some backlash after announcing they would open stores at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. According to DailyFinance, employees and supporters started a petition against the early opening at online petition site Change.org.

Last week, Target responded to the campaign on "A Bullseye View," its official blog. The post explains that the early Thanksgiving Day opening plan was created after they received feedback from customers, who said they would prefer shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner instead of in the early hours on Friday. It also insists that Target employees' preferences were considered in making Thanksgiving work schedules.

Unlike Walmart, Target isn't facing organized labor actions during the Black Friday weekend, so at the moment, they're not budging on their early holiday openings.

So do you think that these stores should give more consideration to workers than customers during the holidays?

Wayne Hanson November 21, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I think all business's should be closed on all Holidays. Management always uses the excuse for working on Holidays (we have to service the customers). What they really mean is I want you to make more money for my pockets. You won't see members of management working on these days only the workers. Its nothing but greed and the lack of care for the empoyees and their families. Companies now a days want you to do more with less and its getting worse. Thats why we need unions (private unions) to keep the corporations in check. Its getting like the old sweat shops use to be back in the day before unions.
Michelle Couch November 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I worked sporting goods retail for many years. I made a conscious decision about my job and was fully aware that certain seasons (back-to-school/holidays) would mandate longer work hours. Granted, the Black Friday Frenzy has escalated, but were these employees really so blind to the industry standards? While it is unfortunate for these employees that their profession is both consumer and profit-driven, it is what it is. While all of the media hoop-la is focused on the disgruntled, I feel sure that there is a healthy base of employees who are grateful for their jobs as well as the opportunity to work additional hours. There are certainly special incentives that these big-box retailers could offer to their employees in an effort to sweeten the deal. Perhaps they did; the mainstream media will not disclose such a detail as it dulls the "story". These employees that are organizing and striking should be more accepting of their career choice, and also recognize that there is a consumer-culprit driving this dollar-dash as well! Chalk it up to consumer mania gone mad over deals and steals. We see the horror stories on the news; children trampled, shoppers stun-gunned, and my-toy brawls. But these risks won't deter the deal-seeking shopper addicted to the adrenalized anticipation of the open door dash.
Janita Mastin November 21, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I agree with Wayne's comments until he starts in on the "union" comment. Big businesses and corporations stop your greed eating frenzy on the backs of minimum wage earners and allow them to spend quality time with their families at holiday time. How about this for a solution -- YOU (Big-Wigs, Execs, and Stockholders etc.) work in place of your employees for them and spend less time with your family/vacation/time-off without holiday pay and at meager wages that you pay your employees! Go Wal-Mart employees! They shouldn't have to strike they should have a voice and the company should listen... Too commercialized and this country needs to get back to holiday family traditions! Shopping can wait a day and guess what NO-ONE has ever DIED from not shopping or earning a billion dollars!
Michelle Couch November 21, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Although the Walmart executives may not work the retail hours, the Walmart store management works during these hours and I assure you, they are paid extremely well. (I can't speak to what the store level employees wages are). I don't think we can blame the corporate executives for destroying holiday family traditions. They aren't holding a gun to the heads of the hungry deal-seekers. They too make an informed decision to add the activity to their holiday. Perhaps they consider shopping together - quality family time. It's not for me to judge. I myself do not participate in Black Friday, but I did work Thanksgiving evening last year at a local Kohls. The doors opened at midnight and I was blown away by the experience. But I actually had a great time working that night and I was extremely grateful to make the extra money due to my financial situation at the time.
Gary Fox November 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Retailers lock your doors at normal business hours the evening before Thanksgiving & unlock them at normal business hours the day after - HOW HARD IS THAT ?!?!?! Enough of the madness !!!!
Athens Mama November 22, 2012 at 02:08 AM
@Gary: AGREE.
Chris P November 22, 2012 at 02:07 PM
My wife typically does most of her Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. We prefer to enjoy the Holidays with family and friends. That being said I've worked in jobs that required people to work on the Holidays. It is what it is. if you don't like working on the holidays then find work in a different industry.
Karsten Torch November 23, 2012 at 02:39 PM
So how many went shopping at Kroger yesterday? They were open 24 hours, as always. I didn't hear anybody complaining about that. I tipped the people there, since they had to be there for people like me that forgot stuff on the trips the previous days. But, it's their job. Don't like it, feel free to find an office job where they're closed on holidays. I also noticed the police are on duty, not taking the time off to spend with their families. That's unfair, too. Everybody should have the good manners to just not commit crimes on these days so they can spend it like the rest of us do. I'll admit - it sucks if you're working for one of those stores that opened on Thanksgiving. And then to have to deal with people that are shopping who are rude and getting in fights, but, hey, at least they're employed. It could always be worse - you could be on the government dole, out looking for a job every other day.
Mr. B November 23, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I wish I worked there. It would be better than spending the day with my wife's crazy family.
Michelle Couch November 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Karsten, I agree completely! I had the same thoughts. You don't see people getting furious at other businesses that are open on Thanksgiving AND CHRISTMAS... such as the movie theaters, gas stations, drug stores, etc. You also don't see their employees causing so much unnecessary commotion. Like you said, if you don't like it - find a different job.
Chris November 23, 2012 at 03:32 PM
But some people just can't get a job. (not mentioning name)s No one will hire them because of bad credit or whatever. How cold you people can be.
Karsten Torch November 23, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Well, if that's the case, and they've made such bad decisions in their lives that they should be lucky to be working there, then they need to realize that they're lucky to be working there, and thank WalMart for paying them for working on Thanksgiving. Just sayin....
Michelle Couch November 23, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I don't consider myself to be cold - only a realist. I was having grave financial difficulty last year and worked Thanksgiving evening at a local Kohl's. I was beyond grateful for the opportunity to make an extra $100. It put food in my pantry. That's not being cold - that's reality. On the day when we are to be giving thanks for our blessings - in this economy, a job - any job, is but a blessing!
Chris November 23, 2012 at 03:50 PM
But what about those who don't OR WON'T work and can't get a job for whatever reason? Have you no feelings for their struggles in life? Some people have been out of work nearly three years and have applied everywhere and regardless of the FACT that people here on the Patch have reached out and shown them jobs, they continue to be unemployed and they still don't understand why. Where is Obama when these people need him?
Michelle Couch November 23, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Chris, I have been struggling for a few years now; last year I lost my home and sold everything in it just to survive as my business wasn't doing well. You do what you have to do to survive. It took me a very long time to find a job; and I worked some lousy jobs to barely make a living. I have business debt that I'm very slowing repaying, I rented a room from friends for a year - I've moved about 6 times in the last year and a half. I know struggles - believe you me. I am beyond grateful for the job I have now - even though it's not necessarily consistent with my former career, which I absolutely loved. But I'm very grateful. I hate how our society is struggling now compared to better decades. It breaks my heart to see people losing their homes, their jobs, their very reason for existing. That's why I can't have pity on the people that are fortunate enough to have a job. And I can't agree with your analysis that bad credit is a reason for not being able to find employment. I have terrible credit due to my past circumstances and had to go through an extensive background and credit check for one of the lousy jobs I referred to... so I can't really support that claim. As for people who "won't" work because they are too lazy or they feel certain jobs are beneath them - FORGET IT! I have "0" pity for their struggles in life!
Karsten Torch November 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Michelle, I get the feeling that Chris is being facetious.....
Michelle Couch November 23, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Oh... if that's the case then I will hop off my soap-box... LOL
George Wilson November 23, 2012 at 06:21 PM
@Wayne Hanson Well said! Anti union people should realize that the worker needs the protection of a union against big multi national corporations and a government that leans towards the protection of big business too much.
Chris November 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Free Enterprise
Tammy Osier November 23, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Agreed 100% with Michelle and Karsten. When I worked in retail I KNEW from the get go what I was getting myself into. I don't work retail now for good reason. But I didn't complain when I had to take turns working holidays because I knew it was a part of the job and was glad to have the extra hours and money.
Karsten Torch November 23, 2012 at 09:13 PM
And it's funny that the right to work states are seeing quicker recoveries and lower costs of living. Yep, good things for the unions (that was sarcasm, by the way). I do find it interesting that I work for a corporation which is not union, and still have great vacation structure, good benefits (not fantastic, but whose is anymore?), I'm paid better than most others in my industry, and actually feel like a needed employee. I must just not be paying attention. I have to be getting hosed somewhere, since I don't have a union to look out for me. Maybe I should start a petition going to get unionized, so I can then tell where I'm being screwed. Because now, I know I am. This is unfair! We should take over control of this company! How dare they stick it to the little person? (I could keep going, but, again, this is sarcasm. Sorry, but support of unions in this day and age just pushes my sarcasm buttons)
Scott Terry November 23, 2012 at 09:26 PM
If you don't like the job, LEAVE! Somebody else will be happy to work anytime.
Mr. B November 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM
You're absolutely right, Karsten. The big company you work for is probably profitable and using those profits to pay their investors, buy new modern equipment, pay the electric and gas bills, The nerve of your employer, not sharing those profits with you equally. Damn man, get out of there now before its too late. Don't you know you can be walking the picket line, enjoying the weather, looking like a fool? Get with the program man! BTW, Wal-Mart is trying to make profits. Idiots that are willing to shop all night is the reason they open. If no one was there to buy anything, would there be any reason to be open. Of course not. Why would anyone need a union to explain that to the workers. But then again, if you work for Wal-Mart, you might not be the brightest of employees anyway.
Mr. B November 23, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Janita, don't you know we have PROGRESSED beyond family traditions? Hell, we've PROGRESSED beyond families. My nieces aren't even sure Who their baby daddies are, much less Where they are during the holidays.
Good Grief Y'all November 24, 2012 at 02:16 PM
He's also being mean. He's making fun of another poster from previous threads. That's not necessary.
Good Grief Y'all November 24, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I have never shopped on Black Friday. On that day I'm still dealing with the aftermath of a holiday gathering. I don't like the frenzy or the lines. But, some people enjoy it and look forward to it. It's good for the economy and good for the personal economy of the workers. The people who shop on that day may end up spending more than otherwise, despite the great deals. Besides, everyone doesn't observe holidays in the same way. That said, personally I don't like it and wish it weren't so hyped.

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