West Kelowna  

Walmart employee planning strike for September 4

Strike planned for Walmart

The West Kelowna Walmart worker we spoke with last week has contacted Castanet to let us know he is organizing a one day strike at the store.

"Please do notify the public that Walmart employees will be going on strike on Friday, September 4," said Nain Martinez, who added after speaking anonymously last week, he decided it was important to attach his name to his efforts.

"Essential workers can no longer be treated this way and it took a global pandemic for us to realize we are essential and deserve better. What would happen if all essential retail workers stopped working for even a single day? I have decided that yes, you can use my name. "

Martinez says he began working at Walmart in March and was happy to receive pandemic pay until it was cut off in June. He feels he and other frontline workers should still be receiving the extra $2 an hour because the pandemic is still a threat. Martinez went public with his concerns at the same time Walmart instituted a mask policy for all of its customers and employees on August 12.

"Retail associates are scared to speak out because they don't want to lose their jobs. Retail stores have exactly what they want almost absolute control over their employees" says Martinez. "Walmart would rather close down the store before letting the associates unionize," so, Martinez says he has started to organize job action.

"We are all in this together. Therefore we are asking that Walmart do what is right and properly adjust associate salaries according to current minimum wage increases." Aside from pandemic pay, Martinez also suggests there are longtime Walmart employees who have not had their wages properly adjusted.  

"Walmart, do not tell your associates to not talk about our salaries, because that is taking away our freedom of speech. Stop making us work almost full-time hours so that you don't have to pay us full-time benefits. Enough is enough. We ask that you please make these adjustments as soon as possible."

Martinez says he is no longer concerned about any repercussions from the retail giant and says he and some fellow employees, "would like to publicly announce that Walmart employees will be going on strike on Friday, September 4, 2020."

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