MINNEAPOLIS — A petition started by a Target employee to protest the retailer’s midnight Black Friday store opening was hand-delivered to Target’s Minneapolis headquarters Monday.

Northfield, Minn., Target employee Seth Coleman delivered the paper petition with 190,000 signatures in three plastic Target shopping bags. “All Americans should break bread on Thanksgiving and get a good night’s sleep,” Coleman said.

The petition was received by Anahita Cameron, Target’s director of human resources for Northern region stores, who said, “The decision to open at midnight Black Friday was not one we took lightly. As this is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is imperative that we be competitive.”

The petition to “save Thanksgiving” was launched on Change.org last week after Target announced it would join other retailers in opening at midnight on Black Friday instead of the more traditional early-morning opening.

“A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day,” Anthony Hardwick, a part-time Target employee in Nebraska, wrote on the petition he created. “A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation – all Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night’s rest on Thanksgiving.”

Hardwick had wanted to gather 50,000 signatures. But the petition gained national attention, receiving more than three times the number of desired signatures in a week and inspiring a similar petition from a Best Buy employee.

The petition comes at a time when retailers, desperate for consumers’ holiday cash, are opening earlier and releasing Black Friday ads days before the Thanksgiving holiday. The National Retail Federation says sales may rise just 2.8 percent this holiday season, or about half as much as last year.