Employee’s Daughter Asks Kmart To Give Mom Some Time Off On Thanksgiving

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

Should stores be open on Thanksgiving Day? Some businesses, such as hotels, gas stations, airlines, and even restaurants must be open to keep civilization running and make sure other people can get to their destinations and enjoy their holidays. Yet many non-essential businesses are open. Like Kmart. The child of one Kmart employee is unhappy about this, and wants the store to consider maybe giving her mom, a 21-year employee, the day off.

It’s not that the store being open on Thanksgiving Day came as a surprise to anybody. As Kmart made a point of saying in its announcement of this year’s hours, opening early on Thanksgiving Day is a “tradition,” one that dates back to when large numbers of Americans still shopped at Kmart. Employees don’t know until the end of the previous week what their schedules will be. That means that they don’t have a lot of notice about what shift (or shifts, in the case of split shifts) they’re working on the holiday.

“She was not going to be able to spend any real time with our family,” the daughter told Thinkprogress. “To hear her on the verge of tears really infuriated me, to think why are they doing this to people? They need time to be with their families.”

She started an online petition on Coworker.org, a site “for engaging in workplace advocacy.” As of right now, 1,429 people have signed the petition, which asks Kmart to consider not staying open for 42 hours straight, closing earlier than planned, or at least giving employees more flexibility to choose their own holiday schedules.

In a statement to Thinkprogress, Kmart explained that the retailer does its “very best” to not drag employees in to work on the holiday when they don’t want to. That doesn’t mean that everyone working in the store is there because they don’t have any other plans and want the extra cash.

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.

People who claim to be current or former Kmart employees say that this rosy picture isn’t quite how things really are under the big red K.

I used to work at KMart, and missed MANY holidays with my family. It is NOT volunteer work, it is required. They are ridiculous and should be ashamed at themselves for trying to make money on Thanksgiving! Let people be with their families!

I used to work at K-mart, actually, I worked there for FIVE years, working all of their ridiculous holiday hours. There are no volunteers, and some Boston Market dinner did not make up for the time I missed with my family.

I signed because way back when I worked for Sears who used to be the world’s largest retailer. We were scheduled 2 weeks in advance, closed on all the major holidays, and treated like people. But now with everyone trying to be Walmart the retail business doesn’t give a damn about its employees.

KMART: ALLOW EMPLOYEES TIME OFF ON THANKSGIVING DAY [Coworker.org]
Daughter Petitions Kmart Not To Make Her Mom Work On Thanksgiving [ThinkProgress]