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Thanksgiving Openings Show Lack of Respect for Workers

Corporations never seem to be satisfied. Increasingly, they want workers to toil more hours for less pay. And now, a growing amount of retail giants want their employees to sacrifice their Thanksgiving with family to spend it stocking shelves.

Walmart, Target, Kmart, Macy’s, Best Buy — the list goes on and on. These are companies that are putting the almighty dollar ahead of 150 years of American tradition honoring this nation’s original settlers and native population. It used to be no store would have dared to open its door and disrupt one this country’s most sacred holidays — but not anymore.

When asked why they are taking a bite out of the ever-shrinking amount of family time that exists in today’s society, these open on Thanksgiving businesses inevitably respond they are only listening to consumers.  But the bigger reason quite a few of those companies are opening their doors on the holiday is because they are in bad financial straits. As Rick Newman wrote in The Exchange, “Many of them are underperforming and desperate for every dollar of sales.”

Well, that’s sad for them. But should workers be forced to cut back their Thanksgiving celebrations so these retailers can try to right the wrongs of their business plans from the rest of the year? Maybe instead they should be looking at examples that keep their competition in the black.

Companies like Costco, BJ’s Warehouse and Nordstrom are financially solid and waiting just a few additional hours before they greet the swarms of shoppers on Black Friday. Evidently, they realize there could be some value in not opening on Thanksgiving. “I appreciate brands that make the gutsy decision to defer some revenue and stay closed,” brand guru Erika Napoletano told USA Today. “They are celebrating their most important asset – their employees.”

An added plus is that these businesses are also not the same retailers who are renowned for underpaying their employees and then setting up donation stations at their stores to allow their fellow low-income workers to lend them a hand that their corporate bosses won’t.  Walmart evidently doesn’t see the irony in such a set up. Rest assured, however, that the rest of America does.

The same turkey award goes to McDonald’s, which is getting into the seasonal spirit by making financial recommendations to their employees about how they can balance their budgets. Their suggestion about returning holiday gifts is equally sad when raising the company’s pathetic salaries is what really would do the trick.

Workers need to be treated with respect. Taking them away from their families and paying them so little that they need to accept food assistance or return gifts they receive is not a way to show it to them. It is only a method for corporations to express how unthankful they are for their employees this holiday season.