Employment Rights

Walmart’s war on Thanksgiving

While Sarah Palin publishes another screed about the dreaded (and imaginary) secular war on Christmas and Christianity (you can listen to her read some lovely passages from the book here), Walmart is conducting a real assault on another cherished American family holiday– Thanksgiving.

It’s the latest development in a trend in American retailing– pushing back the beginning of “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving and the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. There was a time not long ago when the stores, after closing for Thanksgiving, opened at a reasonable hour on Friday morning. More recently, some of the bigger retailers decided to open at midnight after Thanksgiving. Now Walmart has decided to move Black Friday into Thursday. Its stores will now open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day– about the time many families would normally be enjoying their holiday dinners.

(Even a godless lefty like me bakes a couple of pumpkin pies for the occasion.)

In compensation for ruining the holiday for many of the 1 million employees who will be required to work that day, Walmart “is going to feed them a traditional Thanksgiving dinner during their shift, give them an extra day’s pay, and offer them 25 percent off a future holiday shopping trip.”

As Laura Clawson at Daily Kos Labor sardonically observes:

[W]ho doesn’t love the chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner in their workplace, with all their coworkers and bosses?

And while an extra day’s pay will be welcome, I doubt it will be enough to help the many Walmart employees who require government assistance in the form of food stamps and Medicaid to support themselves and their families.

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