Walmart Thanksgiving Sale 2012, Retailers with plans to open their doors Thanksgiving night instead of waiting until Black Friday officially begins at midnight or the next morning are facing increasing criticism from employees upset at not being able to spend the holiday with their families. For the second year in a row, employees of retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys R Us have started or signed petitions on Change.org calling for Thanksgiving day off. Some are staging a “Wal-Mart walkout” at the world’s largest retailer, refusing to man the story.
Toys R Us led the pack last year by opening at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night. This year they’ll open at 8 p.m., along with Walmart, Sears and Kmart, though most Walmart stores are open 24/7 and Kmart stores will be open earlier in the day before closing briefly at 4 p.m. Target will open at 9 p.m.
When Casey St. Clair, 24, heard she would have to work Thanksgiving night at the Target in Norco, Calif., she felt like the retailer had gone too far. The petition she started on Change.org to save Thanksgiving from Target now had more than 230,000 signatures Friday.
As of Friday, Change.org had 91 petitions against Black Friday sales that start on Thanksgiving, said spokeswoman Charlotte Hill. Last year the site ended up having 150 total, and with 10 to 15 new petitions a day this year, Hill expects to surpass that number.
The backlash comes as groups of Walmart workers across the country have been walking off the job to protest unfair wages and poor working conditions. The protests, organized by employee rights group OUR Walmart, are expected to continue this week and into Black Friday.
Walmart spokesman David Tovar says the protests only represent a handful of stores and won’t affect the retailer’s Thanksgiving or Black Friday plans.