Proposed legislation would protect employees by providing double pay for working on Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
SAN DIEGO – (Wednesday, November 26, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced a new legislative proposal today requiring California employers to provide double pay to workers who have to give up their holidays to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez was joined outside the Walmart on Murphy Canyon Road in San Diego by Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135, and Diane McCain, a local San Diego Walmart worker and member of OUR Walmart to make the announcement.
In recent years, ‘Black Friday’ shopping deals have increasingly spread into the Thanksgiving holiday, forcing workers to miss out on celebrating the holiday and spending time with their families in order to keep their jobs. In some cases, this work has become mandatory, forcing workers to give up their holiday or risk losing their jobs. Many of these business practices have carried over to Christmas as well. The increasing commercialization of the holiday season has created significant public backlash, including petitions, media criticism and worker protests. Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s proposed legislation would ensure that those workers who sacrifice their holiday receive double pay for their work.
“If it’s so important to force employees to work on a traditional family holiday, it’s only decent to compensate them fairly,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said.
Our Walmart member Diane McCain added, “We take pride in serving our customers the best we can, including coming in on holidays like Thanksgiving. I think it’s only right for us to be paid fairly when we have to sacrifice our holiday to work.”
This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will be at work at a dozen major retailers: Walmart, Macys, Sears/Kmart, Kohl’s, Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic, Target, Staples, JC Penney, Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Best Buy, and Radio Shack. That includes nearly a million people at Walmart stores alone, and many more at food outlets like Starbucks.
Current California law allows employers to mandate working scheduled overtime, and nationally there have been reports of retailers like Kmart have threatened that employees will automatically be fired if they don’t work on Thanksgiving.
In fact, more than three-fifths of the country’s large employers have Thanksgiving shifts, while just one-in-five small businesses will do the same.
Many employers at least provide some overtime or additional leave for employees who have to work on Thanksgiving, it’s not always so simple. For example, Walmart offers additional pay to Thanksgiving workers based on their average pay in the weeks leading up to the holiday. But many employees reported having their hours reduced during those weeks, to reduce that pay.
Recent polling found that half of Americans think stores being open on Thanksgiving is a terrible idea, and despite talk about consumer demand, data shows that opening earlier didn’t actually boost overall sales. Instead, sales on Thanksgiving Day just came out of Black Friday sales, meaning taking away employees’ holiday didn’t actually help the bottom line.
Holiday work scheduling has inspired multiple petitions from workers and their families across the country. Nearly two-thirds of wealthy nations guarantee paid holidays, though the United States isn’t one of them. On top of that, the United States is the only one not to guarantee any vacation days.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.
 http://blogs.marketwatch.com/behindthestorefront/2013/11/12/retailer-plans-to-jumpstart-black-friday-with- thanksgiving-openings-unlikely-to-save-short-christmas-shopping-season/
 http://www.jsonline.com/business/mall-employees-petition-says-no-thanks-to-working-on-thanksgiving- b99389270z1-282402351.html
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