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Give thanks for stores being open on Thanksgiving?

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Customers and protesters will be at many big retailers today.

Toys R Us, Best Buy, JC Penney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart and Target are just a few of big retailers open on Thanksgiving.

Several groups object to retailers being open on the holiday. They say it’s unfair to their employees making them choose between their family and their job. 

Jim Hallan is with the Michigan Retailers Association.  He says other people have to work on Thanksgiving. Why not retail workers?

“There is a good core of society that does not take 24 hours off during Thanksgiving,” says Hallan. “The world continues to move and churn.”

Meanwhile, a lawmaker in Ohio wants retailers in the state to pay triple wages for employees who work on Thanksgiving – an effort that comes as Macy's allows its workers to choose whether to work that day.

Both are attempts to counter frustration among workers and their families over holiday store hours that have expanded into the holiday.

Ohio State Rep. Mike Foley says his bill would allow employees to bow out of the holiday shift without sanctions. It comes after a federal complaint said Wal-Mart illegally fired workers protesting holiday working conditions last year.

Macy's, Wal-Mart and two dozen other major retailers open on Thanksgiving Day say consumers demand it. A Macy's spokesman says those who work will be paid time-and-a-half.