The War On Thanksgiving Hits American Workers
1. Walmart Workers Strike On Black Friday: The nation’s largest private employer saw strikes in nine cities on Black Friday this year. OUR Walmart, the non-union group arguing for labor protections, saw tens of thousands of people participate in 1,500 protests involving workers and their community supporters. At the same time, workers who strike could face retaliation, like being fired, for their actions. Dozens of protesters have already were arrested for their civil disobedience.
2. Whole Foods Workers Strike In Protest Of Working On Thanksgiving: Ten workers went on strike at two Whole Foods stores in Chicago on Wednesday to protest having to come to work on Thanksgiving. Matthew Camp, an employee and member of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOOC), told Eidelson that while they work hard so people can enjoy the holiday, “we would like to be able to participate in the holiday ourselves.” He added that “it’s a question of respect.” Given that he has a shift on Thursday, he said he won’t be able to spend the holiday with his family in Texas.
3. Ruining Workers’ Thanksgivings Fails To Boost Holiday Shopping Sales: A large number of stores decided to open for Black Friday so early this year that they had hours on Thanksgiving Day itself, hoping to juice the holiday shopping season haul and necessitating that millions of workers show up to their jobs. But while sales did increase on Thanksgiving this year, that only took a bite out of Black Friday sales, failing to bring the net increase that retailers were hoping for. Overall, retail spending over the holiday weekend actually fell for the first time in at least seven years.
4. Congress Got 239 Days Off This Year, Workers Are Guaranteed Zero: Congress has just eight days on the job between now and the start of the next session on January 7, with the House coming back on today and adjourning for the year by December 13 and the Senate returning on December 9 only to most likely adjourn for the year on December 20. In total, the House will have had 239 days off this year with even more scheduled for next year. The picture is very different for the rest of Americans, however. The country doesn’t guarantee its citizens any paid vacation or holiday time off, and many workers were forced to come in on Thanksgiving.
Where The Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With The Earnings Of The 1%: If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982. As minimum-wage jobs have provided less and less stable economic footing for working people, the wealthiest sliver of the country has seen astronomical gains in their compensation. If instead the federal minimum wage had grown at the same rate as one-percenter earnings, it would sit at $22.62 per hour today — 212 percent higher than the current wage floor.
Stay Tuned: Coming Up This Week
Fast Food Strikes Will Hit 100 Cities On Thursday: Fast food workers will stage a one-day strike against their employers in 100 cities on Thursday. Striking workers have been organizing since August and are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the right to form a union.