Earlier this month, Kmart announced that it would be opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and would remain open until midnight on Black Friday – 42 hours straight.
"I'd also like to especially thank our seasonal associates and those who have volunteered to share part of the day serving our members on Thanksgiving," Leena Munjal, senior vice president of Sears Holdings (owner of Kmart), said in a press release.
Jillian Fisher, whose mom works at Kmart, has started a petition on Coworker.org calling for the retail chain to allow employees to take the holiday off.
Fisher wrote on her petition:
I’m asking Kmart to commit to allowing employees to request Thanksgiving day off and to rely only on volunteer employees. We understand that it is retail, and employees understand that they have to work hours on holidays. However, Kmart’s unnecessary hours are forcing its employees to miss out on important time with their families.
... Kmart covers its shameless act of greed by stating that it is giving its employees more time to make money. Kmart: have you even talked to your employees about your holiday hours and what they will be required to work? The answer is no. We are almost 2 weeks away from Kmart stores being open 42 hours straight, and employees - even after asking management about what hours they will be required to work - still have not received information about their schedules during this time.
Kmart - You should not open your stores at 6am on Thanksgiving Day nor should your stores remain open for the subsequent 42 hours. Furthermore, you should be honest and advise your employees on their schedules so they can plan when to spend time with their families when you put this burden on them. Kmart has said that it will staff its stores using volunteers and seasonal employees. I’m calling on Kmart to commit to respecting the schedules of employees who request not to work on Thanksgiving Day.
According to ThinkProgress.org, Fisher did a survey of 56 Kmart employees nationwide and found that only three had a choice to ask for Thanksgiving off.
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As part of the survey, several Kmart employees claim they were told they had to work Thanksgiving by Kmart supervisors and signs were posted in workers' areas telling them that everyone had to work Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Some employees say they have been told by Kmart that they would be fired if they didn't work the holidays.
ThinkProgress.org reports that a Kmart rep said in response to the story: “Again, we reiterate that our stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who volunteer to work holidays. Seasonal associates are told upon hire of our holiday store hours, and we make every effort to accommodate associate shift requests during this time."