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Wal-Mart, Target Employees Protest Black Friday Hours

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Wal-mart, like many other retailers, will be opening doors extra early this Thanksgiving in the hopes of cashing in on deal-hungry shoppers. They announced last week that rather than waiting until Friday, a day when retailers traditionally offer massive markdowns, Wal-Mart stores will re-open at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Some of their employees, however, are less than keen to head to work on the federal holiday.

Back in October, the groups Our Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart led what WWD identifies as one of the first-ever strikes against the store. Since last week's announcement, they have promised to launch 1,000 store protests, strikes, and rallies leading up to and on Black Friday, WWD reports.

In response, WWD reports that Stores Inc. has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, asking the National Labor Relations Board to stop recent demonstrations and in-store "flash mobs" that the retailer called "unlawful attempts to disrupt its business."

Wal-Mart isn't the only retailer facing opposition from angry employees over early Black Friday hours. Employees at Target, which has announced plans to open at 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day, have organized petitions through Change.org to ask the company to stop "Thanksgiving Creep," the practice of opening earlier and earlier each year. According to an email Casey St. Clair of Corona, California, sent to Racked via Change.org, she will be presenting the following petition—which has garnered more than 350,000 signatures so far—to Target CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel at the company's headquarters today:

I'm not complaining about being a minimum wage worker. Target, as a company, does some good and maintains a commitment to charity. Thanksgiving, though, is one of the three days retail workers get off a year, a day most spend with family. The issue is not black Friday, though it's not exactly this country's shining moment. Every year the opening time gets pushed up more and more. Midnight last year was pushing it. How can you expect workers to spend time with family and then stay up all night. It's inhumane and inconsiderate. You are most likely tucked away in bed while workers are in the stores pushing back a rabid crowd of shoppers trying to get an iPod. A 9pm opening disgusts me and symbolizes everything that is wrong with this country. Give Thanksgiving back to families. The world won't end if people have wait 7 more hours to buy useless junk that will be outdated in a year anyway.

We're curious: Do you think companies should reserve Thanksgiving as a day off for employers? Or are early shopping hours fair game? Speak your mind in the comments.
· Wal-Mart Files Labor Charge With NLRB Against Union [WWD]
· Are You Guilty of Showrooming? [Racked]