Extended Hours Mean Some Washington, D.C., Workers Are Forced To Miss Holiday

4:38 PM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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Washington, D.C. (WUSA) -- With retailers opening earlier and earlier, pushing Black Friday hours into Thursday afternoon and evening, workers at those stores are finding they have to leave their families on the holiday in order to keep their jobs.

"I think its too bad, it's not very nice," one shopper told 9NewsNow Wednesday evening.

And it is not just retail.

"There is a growing trend of restaurant workers needing to work on the holidays particularly on Thanksgiving and Christmas and I've noticed this in a lot of fine dining restaurants.

"You would be surprised at the amount of consumers that actually want to eat and dine out and have someone else take care of them during the holidays rather than do it at home," said Nikki Lewis of The Restaurant Opportunity Center.

"On one hand, I've heard many workers say this is a good thing because they need to make money on that day and, with the restaurant industry having some of the lowest wages in all of the country, the opportunity to work on any day is a blessing.

"On the other hand it can be a challenge, really, for working moms and parents, in particular. On most holidays child care centers are not open so if you're forced to work that day, what are you supposed to do?" she asked.

At Rodmans on Wisconsin Avenue, management and workers have found a solution that works for everyone.

"It's volunteer, and the ones that really don't celebrate Thanksgiving

come in and we work half a day and they come in and we give them lunch most of the time and they're happy to come," said manager Charles Miller.

At other retailers or restaurants, some workers work because they are afraid.

"if you're not available on a certain day or if your shirt has a speck of dirt on it, you can get fired so there is a lot of fear in the restaurant industry," Lewis told 9News Now.

She also said many restaurants try to accommodate workers needs so that they can have family time.

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