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Almost a dirty secret

Assemblywoman Gonzalez to introduce bill to increase holiday pay

Californians who come in to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas will be getting a pay bump next year if a bill assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez plans to introduce is successful.

At a media gathering on the edge of a parking lot in front of a Mission Valley Walmart (store officials protested the use of the outlet's façade as a backdrop), Gonzalez was joined by union leader Mickey Kasparian and Walmart employee Diana McCain on Wednesday afternoon, November 26, to make her case.

"It's time to start talking about what we've all known is almost a dirty little secret — the fact that every year more and more workers are expected to come in and serve the public when it comes to what are non-essential items, quite frankly," says Gonzalez.

In recent years, an increasing number of retailers, especially "big box" outlets such as Walmart and Target, have stretched traditional Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving, with some opening Thursday afternoon or remaining open all day.

Many union-negotiated contracts, including those for round-the-clock jobs such as nurses or firefighters, already provide for double or even triple pay on federal holidays. Other employers, while not mandated to offer any incentives to workers scheduled on holiday shifts, may nonetheless provide perks at their discretion.

McCain said that Walmart was offering its employees time-and-a-half overtime pay for their full shift, plus a coupon good for 20 percent off a single item.

"That's a pretty steep price to pay when you're not spending time with your family on these important holidays," opined Kasparian, president of the local United Food & Commercial Workers chapter. Grocery workers covered by the union already receive two to three times their normal pay rate when working holidays.

Gonzalez, a former labor organizer herself, has used her position to champion other workers' issues including minimum-wage hikes and a statewide mandatory sick pay proposal, signed into law earlier this year.

When asked about including other federal holidays in her proposal, Gonzalez didn't rule it out but anticipated a challenge with passing legislation for what she said were the two most significant days of the year for most families.

"I like taking on issues that people say can't be done, and I've already been told that this can't be done even for two holidays."

Introductory text of the bill is expected to be released on December 1.

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Californians who come in to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas will be getting a pay bump next year if a bill assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez plans to introduce is successful.

At a media gathering on the edge of a parking lot in front of a Mission Valley Walmart (store officials protested the use of the outlet's façade as a backdrop), Gonzalez was joined by union leader Mickey Kasparian and Walmart employee Diana McCain on Wednesday afternoon, November 26, to make her case.

"It's time to start talking about what we've all known is almost a dirty little secret — the fact that every year more and more workers are expected to come in and serve the public when it comes to what are non-essential items, quite frankly," says Gonzalez.

In recent years, an increasing number of retailers, especially "big box" outlets such as Walmart and Target, have stretched traditional Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving, with some opening Thursday afternoon or remaining open all day.

Many union-negotiated contracts, including those for round-the-clock jobs such as nurses or firefighters, already provide for double or even triple pay on federal holidays. Other employers, while not mandated to offer any incentives to workers scheduled on holiday shifts, may nonetheless provide perks at their discretion.

McCain said that Walmart was offering its employees time-and-a-half overtime pay for their full shift, plus a coupon good for 20 percent off a single item.

"That's a pretty steep price to pay when you're not spending time with your family on these important holidays," opined Kasparian, president of the local United Food & Commercial Workers chapter. Grocery workers covered by the union already receive two to three times their normal pay rate when working holidays.

Gonzalez, a former labor organizer herself, has used her position to champion other workers' issues including minimum-wage hikes and a statewide mandatory sick pay proposal, signed into law earlier this year.

When asked about including other federal holidays in her proposal, Gonzalez didn't rule it out but anticipated a challenge with passing legislation for what she said were the two most significant days of the year for most families.

"I like taking on issues that people say can't be done, and I've already been told that this can't be done even for two holidays."

Introductory text of the bill is expected to be released on December 1.

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At the border between Hungary and Serbia, in a field with thousands of refugees

I tell my church that we have to stop seeing issues and start seeing people.
Comments
4

I was watching the news yesterday and the reporter had to leave the WalMart area and cross the street, to the Fry's parking lot, to report on this.

Now I understand better. WalMart wants no part of paying a double holiday pay. Better to just deprive employees the holiday at regular pay rates.

Nov. 27, 2014

This is the best thing Lorena Gonzalez has done to date. In the all-Dems-all-the-time environment of Sacramento I hope this bill will pass handily. It feels like New Deal legislation -- a measure that's good for the People. Good for Assemblywoman Gonzalez and thank you.

Nov. 27, 2014

This is the sort of constituent service legislation that motivates the folks that built the Democratic Party. Had it been publicized prior to this last election perhaps more people would have shown up.

The Republicans have been delivering for their base ever since the temporary tax cut Bush pushed in the early 2000's. It's past time the Democrats delivers for the economic interest of the working class.

Nov. 28, 2014

Conservatives try to sell people that they are the family values party but where are the family values at WalMart or any other store that is open on Thanksgiving? Most of the people that work on holidays like hospitals and emergency services are well compensated but those in retail are used and abused and paid little. I would never shop on thanksgiving or any other major holiday.

Nov. 28, 2014

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