Workers push back against earlier holiday openings

Published 1:30 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — Count your blessings, then get to work.

That may be Thanksgiving for more retail workers this year, as desperate stores push their holiday openings earlier and earlier.

Unhappy workers are trying to persuade companies to back off. Anthony Hardwick says reporting to work at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving ruins what’s supposed to be a day spent with family. He part-time at a Target store in Omaha, Neb., corralling carts, and his online petition against Target Corp.’s plan to open at midnight on Black Friday has drawn more than 100,000 signatures.

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But retailers say they’re stuck because it’s what customers want. They’re competing for shoppers on a critical weekend, and a growing number fear opening at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. as before may be too late in this challenging economy.