Target employee Casey St. Clair hand-delivered more than 350,000 signatures from her Change.org petition this afternoon to the company’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.
According to a prepared statement from Change.org, the gesture was designed to ask Target to reverse its decision to open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
St. Clair, along with several local Target customers and community faith leaders, carried boxes of petition signatures to the office of Target President & CEO Gregg Steinhafel.
Target Vice President of Human Resources Tim Curoe offered this statement in response:
“The enormity of asking some of our store teams to work on Thanksgiving night is not lost on us. We recognize some team members are cutting short time with their families to work. And so, once again, to our team, and to their families and friends, we say thank you.“And yet, we've heard from many of our team members that they are supportive of our plans, excited to get additional hours, holiday and incentive pay, and understand the need to compete.
“Hundreds of stores had more volunteers wanting to work than shifts to fill. We appreciate the enthusiasm and understanding our team members have shown as they help Target deliver an outstanding shopping experience to our guests on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year.
“We have been talking with our teams since we announced our opening hours to make sure they are comfortable with their scheduled shifts and had plenty of opportunity to express concern. We have also adjusted team member schedules if necessary. All team members working on Thanksgiving and certain hours on Friday will receive additional pay. And we're taking extra steps to make sure we help maintain our team's health and well-being throughout their shifts.”
St. Clair questioned Curoe’s suggestion that customers want a Black Thursday opening.
"Target can keep repeating the line about customers wanting to shop on Thanksgiving all it wants. The fact remains that 350,000 shoppers have signed my Change.org petition, and they're all saying the same thing: Thanksgiving should be about family, not shopping. Black Friday is one thing; turning Thanksgiving from a family holiday into a consumer spectacle is another."
St. Clair added that her experience as a Target worker was much different than that described by Curoe.
“Up until a few days ago, there was a sign at my Target store listing 'blackout dates' that employees couldn’t request off, and Thanksgiving was one of them. If that's not a policy mandating people work on Thanksgiving, I don't know what is. As team members, we weren't consulted about the opening plans and didn't even learn about the Thanksgiving opening until we received our schedules.”
“The Target I’ve worked for these past six years cares about its employees and customers,” St. Clair added. “So why is Target declaring war on Thanksgiving?”
More than 130 petitions have recently been launched on Change.org asking major retailers including Target, Walmart, Sears, and Kohl’s to “Save Thanksgiving” and open their doors on Friday instead of Thanksgiving Day.
A full, updated list of Black Friday-related petitions can be found here.