MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Target employee delivered petitions with more than 200,000 signatures to a company representative, asking that the stores Black Friday opening, currently slated for midnight on Thursday, be pushed back.
“That early time opening robs employees of time with their family,” said Target employee Seth Coleman.
Many workers would have to be at the store by 11 p.m. to help get ready for the shopping rush at midnight. But some workers say they will have to work even more hours on Thanksgiving Day.
Coleman, who presented the petition to Target management, said he will have to work at the Northfield Target store on Thanksgiving Day from 4 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and then from 11 p.m. overnight into Black Friday.
“That means I will only have about 10 hours or so of not being at work on Thanksgiving,” Coleman said. “If I’m at work almost the entire day, I have nothing to give thanks for or, at least, no one to give thanks with.”
“A full holiday with the family is not just for the elite of this nation,” Coleman said.
Coleman was asked about his protest, given the fact that so many people are out of work.
“A hundred years ago, a child was lucky to not have his arm caught in a machine at a textile factory. Just because the things are the way they are, doesn’t mean that they are right,” he said.
Unitarian Minister David Breeden was among the protestors delivering the petition.
“Now Black Friday is creeping in to darken Thanksgiving,” he said.
Coleman and other faith leaders handed over the bags of petitions, in Target bags, to Target representative Anahita Cameron who will give them to Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel.
“At Target, we deeply value and respect the rights of our team members to express their opinions,” said Cameron.
Cameron went onto to say that the decision to open at midnight on Black Friday was not made lightly, but given the competitive nature of the retail industry, the stores will open at midnight on Thanksgiving night.
“Our guests have expressed that they would prefer to kick off their holiday shopping experience right after the holiday celebrations rather than getting up in the middle of the night,” Cameron said.
Target customers WCCO-TV spoke with were split about the Black Fridays hours.
“They got to keep up with everybody else,” said Theresa Powers. “Everybody else is doing it, why not them.”
“I think they absolutely should not open,” said Wendy Williams. “I think it’s a holiday. I think employees should be able to stay home and I think people can wait until Friday morning to shop.”
Target is not the only retailer opening early. Kohl’s, Best Buy and Macy’s are also opening at midnight. Toy ‘R’ Us and Walmart are opening Thanksgiving night.
The campaign Change.org was launched by Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee in Omaha, Neb., after he learned the company’s management had moved the standard “Black Friday” opening time up from 5 a.m. on Friday to midnight on Thanksgiving.
Last week, Target released a statement about the petition and Hardwick saying, “The team member you are referencing is not now, and has never been, scheduled to work on Thanksgiving or Black Friday at Target. Our understanding is that this team member also works full-time for another retailer. In early November, he informed his Target managers that he was scheduled to work at his other job on Black Friday and indicated that he needed the day off from Target. We honored that request.”