By Jaspreet Baath,
While many people prepare to spend holidays with their family and friends to eat and celebrate together, millions of Americans are preparing and working for the big surge of holiday shoppers.
According to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, around 57 percent of full time workers plan to work seven to eight hours during the holidays. With more and more shoppers each year, stores are open longer during the holidays and many workers are forced to work more hours.
“A couple years ago stores were rarely open, but now every store tries to get ahead by opening longer (during the holidays),“ said Simran Dhillon, an employee at Little Caesars.
In fact, in 2013, Target stores opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, however, this year the stores opened earlier at 6 p.m., cutting deeper into time for Thanksgiving for employees– especially since workers have to show up early to get things set up.
“I don’t really do it for the extra pay, its just part of the job now so either I show up or I get fired,” Walmart employee Kirandeep Kaur said.
A couple hours before the sales even begin, the employees already have be there to get the displays ready and the outdoor railings set up to control the crowd.
Sean Raycraft was a former Davis High students and now is an employee and union representative at Safeway. He describes the store as a “mixed bag” during this time of year.
“Customers are stressed out, trying to get everything they need for their holiday gathering […] There are of course people who will try and take out their stress on employees, which is never fun,” Raycraft said.
However, there are a few upsides of work during the holidays too. The extra work days and hours the holidays provide are helpful to many people, especially for DHS students like junior Robert Michael, who is trying to save enough money for college.
“It’s kind of nice in a way that stores are open during the holidays since they let me get extra time for work which is hard since I am usually busy with school work,” said Michael, an employee at West Lake Market.
In addition, many stores provide a bonus for employees who choose to work extra time over the holidays. The collective bargaining agreement that applies to a few stores allows workers to still receive a full day’s pay on all the holidays covered by a store and, if they decide to work, they receive double pay for that day.
It is a nice little bonus to look forward to, and a good way to incentivize members to work on the actual holiday,” Raycraft said.
However only a handful of stores are covered by this. A bill that was brought up in the California State Legislature to force all big box stores like Walmart and Target to pay workers during the holidays, failed to receive enough votes. Nevertheless many workers hope that one day they will receive the pay they deserve for work over the holidays