Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Labor Observations

I spent the last week in Tennessee visiting family, as I often do this time of year.  I had a few observations I'd like to share.  Have you noticed in the recent years how more and more businesses, especially in the retail sector are open on Thanksgiving Day?  I remember that when I was growing up, nothing was open except the 7-eleven, and that was just the owner and his wife.  Now, you can find every possible kind of business forcing their employees to spend time making the company money rather than spending this time with their families.

The next day, I decided to see which of these stores that were opened the previous day had union contracts in place.  Of the stores I stopped at, only two were unionized.  The employees told me they volunteered, and earned double-time, or holiday pay as it is commonly referred to, for working Thanksgiving Day.  The non-union employees told me they were forced into working, and only received time-and-a-half pay rates.

This let me know that we have a long way to go as far as organizing the retail sector, which I know I have harped on many times.  It's just important some times to pull back the curtain and put a human face on the holiday workforce as we're out and about this time of year.

In Solidarity,


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