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Menlo Park Mall Employee Petitions Against Thanksgiving Opening

A local mall employee is asking Simon Malls to reconsider an 8 p.m. Thanksgiving day opening.

Not everyone gets Thanksgiving off this year, and many retail employees are not happy about it. 

According to a spokesperson for Change.org, 12 petitions with a total of 16,657 signatures have been created on the site, calling on Simon Property Group specifically to reconsider opening its malls on Thanksgiving day to accommodate Black Friday shoppers.

One of those petitions was created by Anthony Rivera, a Somerset County resident and a Menlo Park Mall employee.

The Menlo Park Mall will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, and remain open throughout the night until the close of business on Black Friday, according to the mall website

Simon isn't alone in their decision to open early. Macy's will open 750 of its stores on Thanksgiving for the first time ever, as will Walmart, Toys R' Us, K-Mart and J.C. Penney's. 

In the past, Rivera said he has worked 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. openings on Black Friday, but the hours are gradually shifting earlier and earlier, he said.

He created the petition on behalf of all mall workers who will have to cut their holiday short to come to work on a federal holiday, Rivera said.

It's a "slap in the face" he said, especially since the executives who decided to implement the earlier hours "won't be there." 

"Everyone should be able to enjoy their time away from work," he said.

A spokesperson for Simon Property Group said the extended hours were intended to better accommodate the needs of shoppers. 

"Our extended holiday hours are designed to meet customers' need for greater flexibility as they seek to fit holiday shopping into their already busy schedules," said Les Morris, Director of Public Relations for the company. 

Rivera said he has been reassured by his supervisor that he will not have to work the Thanksgiving opening, but he didn't create the petition to complain about his own situation. 

He said he particularly thought about the maintenance and housekeeping staff who get there earliest of all and must work long hours even during the regular season. 

"They wont even have a Thanksgiving," he said. "They'll have to get there however many hours earlier. The holiday is completely gone for them."

To view Rivera's petition click here.

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