Kmart To Employee: ‘If You Do Not Come To Work On Thanksgiving, You Will Automatically Be Fired’

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Kmart_Monroe,_NC_Photo by Mike Kalasnik

Kmart will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day this year and remain open for 42 hours, meaning that many employees will have to come to work to staff shifts. While the company says it tries to fill the slots with volunteers or seasonal hires, workers are reporting that the reality on the ground is very different.

Jillian Fisher, who started a petition on asking Kmart to give her mother and other employees the flexibility to take the holiday off, surveyed 56 self-identified employees from more than 13 states. Of those, just three said they had the option to ask to take the holiday off. In a press release from the petition organizer, one employee said human resources has told them, “if you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired… I made the request to work a split shift on Thanksgiving and was denied.” Another said, “Our manager stated at a staff meeting: ‘Everyone must work Thanksgiving and Black Friday. No time off.’” At one location, an employee says signs have been posted in the break room saying workers can’t request time off on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and that everyone has to put in at least some time on both, while at another signs have been posted saying no one can request time off between November 15 and January 1.

“I am a lead at a Kmart and it is mandatory for me to work on Thanksgiving,” another employee said. “If I were to call out I would be terminated, and requesting off is not allowed.”

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  • danbax

    all kmart customers: do not shop at kmart to protest them not letting employees have time off !

  • DJohn1

    My thought is they do not have a union to protect them? If they do it is probably retail clerks.
    My foreman once gave me a hard time about being off sick. I had the flu. I didn’t go to the Union with this event though I could have.
    Instead I breathed on him a lot, vomited in the toilet, then I went to the boss and begged off sick.
    I was off two or three days. He caught it. He was off two weeks. He never ever again tried to make someone work when they begged off sick.
    The obvious problem is are people slaves or workers? I understand mandatory overtime. I understand where this company is coming from.
    The obvious answer is money talks and the rest of it walks. If you want people, then pay them enough so that they cannot afford to take off.
    We were under a standard contract to work. We got 2 days pay for half a shift’s work. If you begged off you got nothing.
    Anyone attempting to negotiate their own terms of work has a fool for a client.
    Even a legal union group in today’s world has a difficult time negotiating working conditions. Wages are dependent on the market place as much as anything else.
    Kmart and many other places have a difficult time getting any one to work under the conditions of Black Friday and Thanksgiving. So if you are asking someone to do something very difficult maybe you should consider paying them in accordance with the difficulty of the work?
    Kmart and Sears both are having a lot of trouble competing with China in the modern retail market. Places like Walmart are hard to compete with.