Target Employee’s Campaign to Save Thanksgiving Goes Viral

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Petition on Change.org to rescue Thanksgiving from retailers’ proposed ‘Black Thursday’ surges past 75,000 signatures in under 24 hours.

"I'm not just doing this for myself and my own family. I'm speaking out for the thousands of other Target employees who are concerned about risking their job by publicly taking a stand."

More than 75,000 people from every state have joined an explosive campaign on Change.org in the past day alone calling on popular retailer Target to reverse its decision to open late Thanksgiving night for pre-Black Friday shopping and instead allow workers to spend the holiday with family.

The surging campaign on Change.org was launched by Anthony Hardwick, a Target employee in Omaha, Nebraska, after he learned the company’s management had moved the standard “Black Friday” opening time up from 5am on Friday to midnight on Thanksgiving. The new opening time will require employees to arrive at work no later than 11pm on Thanksgiving Day.

“By launching a Change.org campaign, I know I'm taking a risk,” said Hardwick, who currently works as a parking lot attendant for a Target store. “But I'm not just doing this for myself and my own family. I'm speaking out for the thousands of other Target employees who are concerned about risking their job by publicly taking a stand against these earlier Thanksgiving Day hours."

“And it’s not just employees who are angry,” Hardwick added. “Customers have signed onto my campaign as well, and many are starting their own petitions. Clearly, the retail giants have gone too far.”

Just days after Hardwick launched his Change.org campaign, 26 similar petitions were created on the Change.org platform. Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and Kohl’s all plan to open at midnight on Thanksgiving, and Walmart will go one step further with a 10 p.m. open time. Yesterday, it was announced that Toys ‘R’ Us will be opening at 9pm on Thanksgiving Day.

“This is a clear example of Change.org’s platform empowering people to take action on the issues they care about,” said Jess Kutch, director of organizing at Change.org. “A few years ago, employees like Anthony would have had no recourse except for registering their concern in a company suggestion box. Now, as evidenced by the rapid growth that Anthony has seen with his campaign in just a matter of days, anyone can start a movement.”

Many major retailers like J.C. Penney have chosen to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, citing their employees’ right to a holiday.

“We wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving Day to spend with their families," said Bill Gentner, senior vice president for marketing at J.C. Penney, in an interview with the New York Times.

Live signature totals from Anthony Hardwick’s campaign:
http://www.change.org/petitions/target-corporation-push-back-the-opening-of-target-retail-stores-on-black-friday-to-5am

New York Times coverage of the campaign:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/business/some-consumers-object-to-sales-on-thanksgiving.html

ABC News coverage of the campaign:
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2011/11/black-thursday-stores-opening-doors-on-thanksgiving-day/

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 500,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

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Charlotte Hill
Change.org
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