Economy

Nearly 1 Million Walmart Workers Will Have To Work On Thanksgiving Day

CREDIT: AP

Walmart confirmed to ThinkProgress that stores will be open all day on Thanksgiving Day along with Black Friday this year, requiring close to a million associates to report to work, as the company does every year.

“We are a 24/7 hour operation,” a spokeswoman said. “We are open Thanksgiving Day and have been open Thanksgiving Day for 25 years.” The company will also have special shopping hours for its Black Friday deals at some point that day, which last year began at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than the year before. It hasn’t yet announced when those hours will begin this year. Black Friday shoppers can get intense about sales, even acting violently, as with shootings and knife assaults last year.

The only day the store closes is Christmas day. “Generally we close around 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and open at 6 a.m. on the 26th,” the spokeswoman explained.

Any worker who doesn’t want to come in on Thanksgiving Day in order to spend it with friends and family has to work it out with his or her manager. Those who do work the week of Thanksgiving will be paid extra holiday pay, whether they work full or part time. That extra bonus is calculated based a worker’s average daily pay in the 12 weeks leading up to Thanksgiving week. But last year, some workers said it had cut shifts in the weeks before the holiday, which would lower their holiday pay.

Other stores have gotten in on the game of opening on Thanksgiving Day to attract Black Friday deal shoppers. Macy’s has already announced that it will open at 6 p.m. on the holiday, the first announcement of early hours this year. It claims that volunteers have signed up for most of the shifts. A number of other stores joined in last year, including Gap brands, Sears brands, Target, Toys R Us, and others. None of them has announced their holiday hours for this year yet.

A worker who doesn’t want to come in on Thanksgiving Day may have little choice. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid holidays, and nearly a quarter in the private sector don’t get them. Service sector workers like those in retail are even less likely, as 45 percent don’t get paid holidays. But even those who readily volunteer may be doing so because erratic scheduling means that many don’t get enough hours to live on. In a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of retail workers said they don’t get a set minimum of hours, and many said they wanted to be working full time but were only given part-time schedules.

Walmart workers have actually gone on strike to demand more full-time work for those who want it, as well as higher pay and the ability to form a union. They’ve staged massive strikes and protests on Black Friday for the past two years.