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West Kelowna Walmart employee will work with company to find solutions, avoid strike

Walmart strike postponed

Nain Martinez and other employees at the West Kelowna Walmart have decided to work with management rather than walk off the job.

In an email to Castanet News, Martinez says a strike planned for Friday has been "postponed until further notice."

Martinez first came forward with concerns about conditions at the West Kelowna store at the same time the chain made wearing masks mandatory for all staff and customers on Aug. 12.

Since then, he says several employees joined him in hopes of improving work conditions at the store.

“At this stage, we would like to work collaboratively with our teammates and Walmart to find solutions to the problems at our store," said Martinez.

"These problems, including the cancellation of the $2 per hour pandemic pay, the practice of booking workers for just under full-time hours to avoid paying benefits, uneven wage increases that leave long-term staff short-changed, and a culture of silencing workers that discuss pay equity, are not confined to our store. They happen at Walmart locations across the country.

“Walmart management needs to recognize that the workers helped the company to weather the storm of COVID-19, and they deserve fair treatment."

Martinez began working in the produce department at Walmart on March 18. He says it was his first job, and was hired at a starting wage of $14.70 an hour.

In just over five months, he says his wage was increased to $15.05, which he says is comparable to what senior employees with more than 10-years of experience make.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to find a solution through dialogue with management, but if we can’t, we’re willing to take action and fight for fairness at our workplace.”

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