Thursday, December 05, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Rep. Lesser's Proposition of Triple Overtime on Thanksgiving Draws Questions

State Representative for Middletown Matt Lesser (D-100th District) would like to have retail stores closed on Thanksgiving, and those which stay open be mandated to pay employees triple overtime.  The representative held a press conference at the capital  on November 26th with Union Labor representatives from the AFL-CIO along side him, expressing full support of the proposed measure. Last year, Connecticut lawmakers voted to allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays, modifying one of the states decades old "blue laws."

In September, Lesser attended rallies in Middletown along side fellow Working Family party candidates Phil Pessina and Carl Chisem, in support of fast-food workers who wanted minimum rage raised Workers at Subway in Harford held on protest demanding $15 an hour for minimum wage in August of this year. On January 26, 2013, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on a bill that would raise the current rate of $8.25 an hour to $9 on July 1, and to $9.75 an hour on July 1, 2014.

Below David Greaves*, a Middletown resident responds to Lesser's proposed bill. All opinions expressed in letters to the editor are that of the writer and not necessarily that of the Middletown Insider blog staff.

*Editors note: Greaves was a candidate for Assessment Appeals in the 2013 Municipal Election cycle.  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Matt,
Help me figure this out.
You are proposing a bill that you were quoted as saying “the idea was born in reaction to news that retailers like Walmart, Staples, Macy’s and Target are planning to open
for Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day.”

Sorry to be the one to break the bad news to you, but you are not the father - this baby was conceived, born, delivered and acted upon, in two other states, before your “idea” was even a twinkle in your eye. 

You also state that “Thanksgiving is a time when residents should be with their families, not forced to cater to Black Friday crowds,” Lesser said. “This is about basic family values.”

….YET your proposed legislation would curtail the practice by forcing retailers who want to open on Thanksgiving to pay their employees triple overtime. So Matt, are you trying to say that family values have a price tag? And is the price for those “family values” triple over time? Why not just be closed period?
Lastly – You posted on Facebook, with what seem to be some pride;” 

Ad from The Middletown Press website... at least unlike WalMart and other stores they're
not forcing their workers to work all day. Save Thanksgiving!” 

The ad you mentioned was that for Westfarms Mall who plans on opening their doors
at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. Since what appears to be your acceptance of such (by your post) you are OK with a 8pm opening on Thanksgiving Day…um… will your proposed bill reflect it being OK to open at 8pm on Thanksgiving or will it be from 12am to 11:59pm Thanksgiving Day?

David Greaves, Middletown

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