The Holiday Class

This week Ontario held its first Family Day but it did so with a hefty bit of controversy. A number of employers decided that their employees did not need the day off – partly because they already had other holidays above and beyond what the law requires. Still John Tory insisted that it was unjust that some people didn’t get the holiday.

I have news for John Tory, lots of people don’t get a lot of holidays. I’ve done time in the service sector and that includes working my share of holidays. More and more stores are quietly making the move to stay open on every holiday possible. Now there is talk of letting every store in downtown Toronto stay open every day but Christmas. The reality is that there is an entire class of people – retail workers – to whom holidays simply do not apply with any reliability. Most malls still close on holidays, but restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and others stay open. Now there is the possibility that even the malls will be open.

Shopping on holiday is convenient I suppose, unless you work retail. In that case I guess you’re supposed to thank your lucky stars that you get an extra shift. The Star article says that unions haven’t said much, but how many retail workers are unionized? John Tory may have been upset that lots of people didn’t get Family Day, but there are lots of people who don’t get a lot of days off.

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