Macy’s Joining Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving Energizes Labor

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Macy’s Inc. (M), whose annual Manhattanparade is a cherished Thanksgiving tradition for millions, isstarting a new holiday ritual: It’s asking its employees to showup for work.

Pressured by competition, a shorter shopping season andlackluster consumer spending, at least a dozen U.S. mega-retailers are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving Day,such as Macy’s, or opening earlier that day than in previousyears. They are following Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the largest U.S.employer, which has been open for business on Thanksgiving formore than 25 years.

“Another holiday bites the dust in favor of retailers,”Candace Corlett, president of New York consulting firm WSLStrategic Retail, said in a Nov. 12 phone interview. “Ourculture now is to shop, and to get the best deals. Thanksgivingas a day of rest was another culture, another time, not today.”

The expansion of hours will take more than a millionemployees away from their families during the holiday. Organizedlabor has been encouraging low-wage employees to join unions foryears to stem membership losses, and now wants to use theThanksgiving hours to encourage workers to band together toimprove working conditions.

“It plays into the larger themes that we’ve been pushingaround low-wage workers who don’t have a lot of job security,”Amaya Smith, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, said in aninterview. “Thanksgiving, Black Friday is one example of oneholiday…

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