Thanksgiving should be a time when we get to eat copious amounts of pumpkin pie and turkey surrounded by our friends and family. Unfortunately, with a lot of stores opening longer hours on the holiday, it can be difficult for retail workers to get together with their families.
Kmart plans to be open for 42 hours straight from Thanksgiving to Black Friday. Jillian Fisher’s mother works at Kmart, and she has yet to find out if her mother is working on Thanksgiving. Jillian’s mother has worked at Kmart for over 21 years, and Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays when they get to spend time together. According to ThinkProgress, Jillian started a petition on Coworker.org asking that Kmart allow employees time off on Thanksgiving Day.
In the petition, Jillian asks that Kmart allow employees to ask for the day off, and for the store to “rely only on volunteer employees.” She also states that Kmart should not be open from 6 AM on Thanksgiving or for 42 hours straight. Jillian argues that Kmart should have told employees their schedules earlier so they can plan their holidays accordingly. She asks that Kmart respect the wishes of employees who do not want to work on Thanksgiving by closing early, or allowing flexibility.
The petition has over 1,150 signatures so far. Jillian told ThinkProgress that she started the petition out of frustration. It isn’t that her mother doesn’t want to work, it’s the lack of information about her schedule and finding out about the early opening on the news, as opposed to officially in store, and being unsure whether seasonal staff will be hired.
A spokesperson for Kmart issued a response about their holidays hours stating:
“Our stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who volunteer to work holidays. All associates are compensated time and a half pay for the hours they work on Thanksgiving Day. We want to express deep appreciation in advance to all associates who will be working Thanksgiving evening and the day after Thanksgiving.”
If you’ve ever worked over a holiday period, or had family members who have, you can sympathize with Jillian and her mother. It’s difficult to plan your family celebration around work, especially if you don’t know what your schedule is, or if you don’t know if you’ve been approved for time off. Hopefully, Kmart employees like Jillian’s mother, will be able to get the time off and spend the holiday with their family. Clearly, Jillian is one awesome daughter, and her mother should be able to be with her.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)