Should Black Friday Be Forcing Its Way Into Thanksgiving?

With the emphasis on getting the drop on their competition, KMart has revealed that it will be requiring workers to come in before dawn on Thanksgiving DayThe retail giant will open at 6 AM on Thanksgiving Day and remain open for 42 straight hours, taking Black Friday to a frightening new level. KMart is reporting that the shifts will be filled by volunteers and seasonal workers, but there were reports last year that stated that full-time workers were getting time off requests for the holiday denied. 

It may seem logical to put the workers under scrutiny here, especially seasonal workers, for volunteering to work these hours, but it also shows how workers are struggling without an American system that requires paid time off for holidays, or vacation time at all for that matter. Workers are also pushed to take as many hours as they can because their regular pay is so low, or because their regular schedules can't cover their monthly expenses.

On the other end of the spectrum, Costco announced it will be closed again this Thanksgiving, believing its more than 125,000 workers should take the day off and spend time with their families. 

The move belies the actions of many other national retailers like KMart, including Walmart, Target, and Staples, who plan to open early on Thanksgiving in order to get a head start on the Black Friday rush.

In 2013, American consumers spent more than 57.4 billion dollars on Black Friday, with more than 141 million shoppers taking part.

"Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families,” a company spokesman told the Huffington Post. 

thanksgiving meme

Costco has been repeatedly lauded for its business practices that often hold employee wellness over maximization of profits. The average cashier at Costco makes $15.20 per hour, in contrast with $9.37 at its competitor Sam's Club and $8.18 at Target. 88 percent of Costco's employees also have health insurance plans from the company, and the founder, Jim Sinegal, as well as its current CEO, Craig Jelinek, are both outspoken proponents of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. 

"Instead of minimizing wages, we know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty," said Jelinek last March.  "We support efforts to increase the federal minimum wage."

costco ceo on min wage

Currently, a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 earns just $15,080 a year. For a family of 3, that is $4,000 below the poverty line.

The jobs site, Glassdoor, also ranked Costco the second best company in America to work for, right after Google, for its good compensation and benefits. 

costco founder

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