Retail Employees Are Fighting Back Against Working The Black Friday Rush


Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Sears and KMart will be the first large retail chains to open their doors for crazed bargain hunters at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Many other chains are open Thanksgiving Day, but their Black Friday sales don’t start until midnight or Friday morning. This is why a handful of employees have started protesting these work schedules on the grounds that these companies should be promoting that Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family.

A group of Wal-Mart workers are planning to strike at about 1,000 stores on Black Friday. More than 40 petitions have been launched on asking retailers including Sears, Target, Walmart and Kohl’s to “give Thanksgiving back to families.”

Charlene Fletcher, an OUR Walmart leader from Duarte, California said in a statement: ”It’s heartbreaking to miss the holiday with them, and it’s just one more way that Walmar tis showing its disregard for our families. But when our co-workers speak out about problems like these, Walmart turns their schedules upside down, cuts their hours and even fires people,” Charlene said in a statement. “We’re going on strike for an end to Walmart’s attempts to silence its workers.”

Casey St. Clair, an employee at Target who started started a petition asking Target CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel to forgo the plan to open stores on Thanksgiving, told CNN:

“My main issue is not with people wanting to shop; they can do that still, though I think that they can hold off until Friday without the world crashing down. My issue is that Target and other retailers have done something they have never done before in opening on Thanksgiving. My anger is aimed at the loss of a day that, up until now, was considered important enough for only the most essential services to be open.”

Of course employers are firing back with hard numbers that show how much these Black Friday sales (about $12 million) contribute to overall profits and, at least at Target, all hourly employees who work on a national holiday, including Thanksgiving, receive pay equal to time and a half their hourly pay rate, she said.

Sarah Spence, director of Corporate Communications for Wal-Mart, also told, “This year, we’re also providing them an additional 10% discount on one basket of goods. Additionally, we are providing three hot meals during the day on Thanksgiving for associates who will be working.”

But, at the same time, in this economy it is hard to fight against your employer when you have a job.

Photo: SeanPavonePhoto /

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    • Lastango

      Just to help anyone who doesn’t already know, these people are orchestrated by labor union front groups trying to put pressure on a major, non-union employer. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is just behind the curtain. Today Wal-Mart filed an unfair labor practices charge against the UFCW, asking the National Labor Relations Board to stop what the company says are unlawful attempts to disrupt its business.

    • Cherylanne Farley

      As a retail employee who worked BF for years I say hooray! For several years one mall store I worked for opened at 3AM!!! for shoppers to start. Ruined Thanksgiving for years. I am proud of UFCW for reigning in runaway retail hrs. If stores make their profits on BF at the cost of employees, lets flip that paradigm and find new ways to make the money.