Local lawmaker works to double holiday pay

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SAN DIEGO -- Black Friday is turning into Grey Thursday as retailers are starting to open their doors earlier. Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, JCPenney and Best Buy are among stores opening their doors at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

“We have more workers in this state who are being forced out of their homes with their families on a traditional holiday to go and work,” said Lorena Gonzalez, (D) 80th District.

When state legislators reconvene for session in December, Gonzalez plans on introducing a new bill to better compensate employees working on holidays.

“It will work just like overtime,” said Gonzalez. “Anyone working on Thanksgiving or Christmas will double their pay.”

Gonzalez’s bill would require California employers to provide double pay for those who work on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

“We know these retailers are making a lot of money, the profits are coming in and that should be shared with the employees,” said Gonzalez.

“It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas and people want to spend time with their families,” said Mickey Kasparian, UFCW Local 135.

Kasparian is president of United Food and Commerical Workers, one of San Diego’s largest unions. He applauds the proposed legislation by Gonzalez.

“So if you have to work because, you’re serving the public then it’s simplistic why not get paid for your working hours and why not get paid for the holiday?” said Kasparian.

Gonzalez announced her legislation Wednesday at the Stonecrest Wal-Mart in Kearny Mesa.

“I look forward to this day every year,” said Janika Wilborn, customer service manager.

Wilborn said she is working eight hours on Thanksgiving -- and it’s her choice.

“I am given an extra discount for being here on that day and I’m also being given time and a half,” said Wilborn.

She said as far as missing Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings, she doesn’t mind.

“I’m being given that hot meal I’m not given at home. So nothing’s being taken away from me. I personally am ok with working at my store on a holiday.”

Gonzalez said if her proposed bill passes, it would take effect in 2016.

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