50,000 signatures reached
Tell Kmart: Let your workers spend Thanksgiving with family
To: Eddie Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings
Respect your workers and let them spend the holidays with their families. Cancel your plan to open Kmart on Thanksgiving.
Why is this important?
Kmart recently announced that, unlike other retailers, it won't close on Thanksgiving or simply open for a few hours on Thursday afternoon--it's asking workers to give up the holiday entirely. Kmart is planning to open up stores at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open for 41 hours straight.
Thanksgiving isn't just the day before holiday shopping begins. It's a day when most Americans gather together with friends and family and give thanks -- some traveling thousands of miles just to celebrate the day with loved ones.
Traditionally, most businesses have respected their workers and closed their doors for the day, or at least allowed employees to take a few hours off to enjoy an afternoon or evening meal with family. Businesses which choose to stay open often allow workers to choose if they want to work on the holiday. But Kmart doesn't respect workers enough to even give them that choice.
I worked at a Kmart store in Indiana for more than five years throughout high school and college. Over that time I worked on a few Thanksgivings, but I lived close enough to my family that I still had a chance to spend time with them over the holidays. Still, it wasn't pleasant having to rush out after dinner or trying to fit in time with family around my work schedule.
Many of my co-workers weren't so lucky -- with relatives traveling into town for the holidays, they lost precious time with their loved ones. Considerate managers would do their best to work with employees to be flexible, but that only goes so far when corporate policies put the bottom line before families. Now, Kmart's expanded hours on Thanksgiving make matters even worse -- stretching an already thin workforce even thinner -- and employees from around the country have found signs in their break rooms stating that no time-off requests will be accepted over the holiday.
That's why I was so disappointed to hear that Kmart employees from around the country have found signs in their break rooms stating that no time off will be given over Thanksgiving, thanks to the 41 hour marathon Kmart is running in their stores. Kmart continues to claim that these hours will be voluntary, even as employees share these signs with national media.
At Kmart, employees are asked to make sacrifices for hourly wages just above the minimum. My former coworkers worked long shifts on ever-changing schedules, rarely receiving enough hours to make ends meet. They shouldn't be strong-armed into working on Thanksgiving, as has been reported, and separated from their families.
In the midst of a nationwide groundswell of workers organizing for fair wages and better treatment at fast-food restaurants and retail stores, now is the perfect time to spotlight Kmart's treatment of its workers. Let's have those workers' backs and build public pressure on Kmart's parent company, Sears Holdings, which has struggled financially and can't afford to lose customers to other stores over the holidays.
Will you stand with me and demand that the CEO of Kmart's parent company, Sears Holdings, cancel Kmart's plans to disrespect employees by strong-arming them into spending much of Thanksgiving away from their families?
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