The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

No More Thanksgiving Holiday

Nov 25, 2013

As anyone who has ever worked retail can tell you, working the day after Thanksgiving is already miserable because many stores do a huge share of their annual sales on that day. Remember the Walmart worker trampled to death on the day after Thanksgiving in 2008? Now, because their greed is out of control, more and more businesses are opening on Thanksgiving itself, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Staples, and even the dinner theater chain Medieval Times. And if a store like Best Buy opens at 6p.m., that means workers have to be there all day setting up for the sales. Most of these workers are part-time, meaning they have no sick days and are likely to get fired if they try to call off.

Some companies like Walmart try to pretend workers like coming in on Thanksgiving, since the company is providing a turkey dinner for the one million workers it will have on hand that day. Walmart Executive Vice President Duncan Mac Noughton had the nerve to say: “Walmart associates are really excited to work that day, it’s a pretty high energy day for associates as well.” By “excited” he must mean “angry as hell.”

Since the 1800s, paid holidays have been a basic demand of the workers movement. Not so long ago, almost everyone in the country got them, and almost no one worked Thanksgiving or Christmas. That millions of U.S. retail workers will be on the job over Thanksgiving is a mark of how far back the bosses have pushed the working class.