Federal holidays pressure businesses to give Juneteenth – NBC Chicago

Federal holidays pressure businesses to give Juneteenth – NBC Chicago


The Juneteenth Declaration as a Federal Holiday pressures more U.S. companies to give employees holidays and accelerates the movement that began last year in response to the racial justice protests that swept the country. ..

Hundreds of top companies have already promised to monitor Juneteenth last year, following public views on George Floyd’s police killings and subsequent racism.

However, most private companies are inspired by the federal government, the country’s largest employer, when creating holiday calendars. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery after the bipartisan parliamentary bill was passed.

According to Hella Creative, a group of black creative experts in the San Francisco Bay Area, more than 800 companies have launched June 16 last year, according to Hella Creative, which launched a campaign to build corporate support to celebrate June 19th. I promise to protect it. That’s almost double the number of companies that took part in last year’s pledge.

Patagonia, an outdoor apparel retailer, has announced that all stores in the United States will be closed on Saturday and its headquarters will be closed on Monday. Other brands, such as Target, JC Penney, and Best Buy, have promised to hire June 16th last year as paid vacation, although they keep their stores open. Some major banks have stated that employees take fluctuating paid leave.

However, many companies had little time to swap holiday calendars. Some employees have promised to offer regular paid leave or consider adding it to next year’s calendar.

The Nasdaq said US exchanges will remain open on Fridays and Mondays “to maintain a fair and orderly market and minimize operational risk,” but will discuss future holiday schedules with regulators and businesses. Stated.

The state government, which has not yet declared a Juneteenth holiday, was also struggling to accommodate the new federal holiday. Illinois Governor JB Pritzkar announced on Friday that all state government offices will be closed. This replaces state law signed just two days ago, making June 19th next year a state holiday.

Federal holidays such as Thanksgiving are widespread, but private companies are not obliged to provide specific holidays. But many workers don’t know that, so you’ll be wondering why they don’t take paid leave on June 16th this year, said Carolina Valencia, vice president of human resources at research firm Gartner.

Valencia said the number of companies offering Juneteenth will skyrocket next year after employers have more time to respond in an era of intense employee activity and fierce competition for talent. He said he was expecting it.

“Many employees will be upset by their employers for not giving them vacation because they don’t realize it’s a complex process,” Valencia said.

But she said the devil would be in detail. Many businesses are likely to offer it as a variable holiday, and it is unlikely that June 16 will be a national holiday equivalent to July 4 or Memorial Day.

And many prominent companies are not participating in the movement. Walmart, who employs 300,000 black hourly workers and is the country’s largest private sector employer, emails the Associated Press to allow employees to observe any holiday, including June 16. He said he was free to use his paid vacation.

Raheem Thompson, a retailer’s social media specialist, said he was disappointed that he couldn’t take paid vacation. Instead, he said the company sent an email pledged to acknowledge federal holidays and consider future vacations.

“That’s the bare minimum,” said Thompson, who lives in Atlanta but didn’t want to name his company for fear of impact. .. It really doesn’t really mean it. ”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederate surrender, that Union soldiers brought freedom news to enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas. I will. It was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation released slaves in the southern states.

Black Americans in Texas, in particular, have long celebrated June 16th with church picnics and speeches. But the Federal Holiday Declaration drew it to the attention of some Americans for the first time.

Jamie Hicky, founder of a small fitness company in Philadelphia, said he hadn’t heard of Juneteenth until he heard about it on the radio last week. Then his four trainers started talking about it at lunch, and he asked them if it was important to them. It was too late to cancel the client this year, so he decided to take a day off next year.

“They said,’Are you serious, are you listening to this now?

As a white man, Hicky said he took the initiative from his employees because he was worried about jumping into the trend just because he was accused of Tokenism.

“I don’t want to be a fake. If you’re a fake, you’re caught and it’s a million times worse,” Hicky said.

Erin Eve, CEO of Ichor Strategies, said this is a major concern even among the largest employees. Eve says that if you take steps such as investing in the black community or observing Juneteenth without looking at the diversity inside your company, companies will hear from employees, customers and even investors. He said he would be able to call.

Still, Eve said that declaring Juneteenth as a federal holiday would make companies that don’t follow it even worse.

“For current employees, it will reaffirm the discrepancy with their values,” Eve said.


Associated Press writers Urooba Jamal, Anne D’Innocenzio, Michelle Chapman, and Roger Schneider contributed to the story.


This story has been updated to fix the Carolina Valencia title in Gartner. She is the Vice President of Human Resources at a research firm, not a board member.

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