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Bold Turkey: Pair of OH Dems Introduce Bill to Triple Thanksgiving Wages, Let Workers Opt Out

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Two Ohio lawmakers are proposing a bill that would have retail employees earn three times their normal rate of pay if they choose to work on Thanksgiving.

House Bill 360 would allow workers to refuse to work on Thanksgiving without fear of adverse affects on their wages, hours, or employment status.  Under the proposal, the triple pay rate would also extend to Black Friday retailers who are open earlier than their regular hours.  The bill was proposed by Democratic State Reps. Mike Foley (Cleveland) and Robert Hagan (Youngstown).  

Foley explained that the bill, “would shift the focus of the holiday back to spending time with family and loved ones”:

Doorbuster deals should never take precedent over our traditional holiday celebration of spending time with family and loved ones,” said Rep. Foley. “The Thanksgiving holiday has devolved into a mess of consumerism and hollow capitalism that places corporate profit motives over traditional morals and family values.”

Rep. Hagan added:

“Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a holiday when Ohioans look forward to visiting friends and relatives, having a meal and enjoying a day off– not rising at the crack of dawn to deal with long lines of irritated customers,” said Rep. Hagan. “This bill would go a long way to ensure that workers who are sacrificing time away from their families to work the madness of the holiday rush are properly compensated.”

Hagan said he was inspired to write the bill after leafing through Thanksgiving Day sales circulars in the newspaper. “My wife said, ‘You’re a legislator, do something about this,’” he told Mother Jones. “And I thought, ‘Well, I am.’”

The bill has been assigned to the House Commerce, Labor and Technology Committee.  It may have trouble getting through the Republican-controlled legislature, but if passed would be in effect for next year’s holiday season.  

Hagan told Mother Jones he expected the GOP to resist the bill even though they claim to be “the party of family values.”  He introduced a similar bill last year which was quickly tabled and never came up for a vote:

“They are on the side of the retailers, the restaurant owners, the people making the money, as opposed to working families,” Hagan says. “That’s the bottom line.”

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