US Chamber to Members: It’s Cool to Make Your Employees Work on Christmas

Dragging a little today? Desperately trying to focus on work while wishing you were still on a beach? Just be glad you don’t work for a member company of the US Chamber—you might not have gotten that vacation at all.

In a toolkit for small business owners on the Chamber’s website, the lobbying organization advises modern-day Scrooge employers: "If you need to, you can require that [employees] work on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, or any other traditional holiday."

It’s a policy that other large corporations have already taken heat for. Over Thanksgiving, an enterprising Target employee called attention to the consequences of ever-earlier Black “Friday” sales (some starting on Thursday evening) for store employees: not getting to enjoy the holiday with their own families. More than 200,000 employees and customers signed a petition asking Target to drop the family-unfriendly policy, with copycat petitions formed against Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and other big box stores with similar holiday hours.

The Chamber’s advice may not be surprising for an organization that’s also opposed the 40-hour work week, paid family and medical leave, and even the federal minimum wage, but no doubt its member companies are taking note: Listen to this particular Dear Abby, only with a great deal of caution. 

Just In

Whose opportunity does U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue talk about when he talks about opportunity?

The Chamber’s policies might give the largest corporations the opportunity to grow, but that is often not the same thing as growth and opportunity for the American people. After-tax corporate profits in the third quarter topped 11 percent of GDP for the first time since the records started in 1947. But everyday Americans aren’t doing so well, with real median household income declining 4.4 percent since 2009.

When the Chamber opposes increasing minimum wages to coincide with growth in productivity and the economy overall, one must ask whose growth and opportunity the Chamber is pushing for.