Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Turkey Of An Idea

There are times when it's good to be a member of "the media."

After we and several other media outlets focused a light on the greedy and dishonest dealings of executives with the Hostess corporation on Monday, U.S. Federal Circuit Court Judge Robert Drain forced the executives and unions into a mediation session today, in a final attempt to stave off bankruptcy.

As we pointed out on Monday, the problem facing Hostess isn't due to the unions, but is traceable right back to the greed of the corporate executives and investment firms who care nothing about the workers, and only care about squeezing out more profit for themselves. In short, it's a teachable moment about the value of workers in America.

Sadly, it's not the only labor fight going on in America right now.

'Black Friday creep' as the practice is being called, will ruin Thanksgiving day this year for millions of Americans, who will have to eat their holiday meals with a few more empty chairs, while workers leave their families to prepare retail stores for the onslaught of impatient, overweight Americans fighting over cheap Chinese-made electronics a few hours earlier than normal.

In case you'd missed it in the news, 'Black Friday creep' is the practice that many of the nation's largest retailers are engaging in this holiday season, by starting their biggest sales day of the year not at the more traditional 12:01 AM on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but on Thanksgiving Day itself.

That creep is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for workers like Casey St. Clair, who began a petition at Change.org asking retailer Target to waive the Thanksgiving Day start times, and return them to their traditional midnight opening.

St. Clair isn't the only one fighting this kind of corporate creep.

Thousands of Wal-Mart workers nationwide look to be going on strike this Friday in an effort to get the giant retailer to understand that jobs are not just about fair wages, but also about fair working conditions - including the right to celebrate holidays with their families.

Thankfully, not every retailer is following the greed lead of Wal-Mart.

For its part, retailer Nordstrom will once again have all of its stores closed on Thanksgiving, and won't even be decorating their stores for the holidays until Thanksgiving night - starting at 12:01.

As PR Newser's James Thompson points out, this isn't a rebellion against capitalism. "Just because we hate greed does not mean we hate capitalism," says Thompson. "A lemonade stand is capitalism; cutting down the lemon tree to build a better lemonade stand is greed."

There are still two states in the U.S. where none of this will be a problem.

In both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so-called 'Blue Laws' prevent retailers from opening on Thanksgiving - meaning that little Johnny might actually get to eat holiday turkey with both his parents if he lives in either state.

Maybe next year, after a few well-placed individuals notice the trend in places like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and with retailers like Nordstrom, perhaps the idea of workers being treated like people might filter elsewhere in the country.

Something to hope for by Thanksgiving 2013.

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