U.S. Chamber to Members: It’s Cool to Make Your Employees Work on Christmas

This is a cross-post by Christy Setzer from U.S. Chamber Watch.

Dragging a little today? Desperately trying to focus on work while wishing you were still on a beach? Just be glad you don’t work for a member company of the U.S. Chamber of Congress—you might not have gotten that vacation at all.

In a toolkit for small business owners on the Chamber’s website, the lobbying organization advises modern-day Scrooge employers: “If you need to, you can require that [employees] work on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, or any other traditional holiday.”

It’s a policy that other large corporations have already taken heat for. Over Thanksgiving, an enterprising Target employee called attention to the consequences of ever-earlier Black “Friday” sales (some starting on Thursday evening) for store employees: not getting to enjoy the holiday with their own families. More than 200,000 employees and customers signed a petition asking Target to drop the family-unfriendly policy, with copycat petitions formed against Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and other big-box stores with similar holiday hours.

The Chamber’s advice may not be surprising for an organization that’s also opposed the 40-hour workweek, paid family and medical leave, and even the federal minimum wage, but no doubt its member companies are taking note: Listen to this particular Dear Abby, only with a great deal of caution.

This blog appeared in AFL-CIO Now Blog on January 3, 2012. Reprinted with permission.


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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.