[Rushtalk] Walmart hired Lockheed Martin to keep tabs on employees

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Sun Dec 13 20:18:37 MST 2015


Human resources: Walmart hired Lockheed Martin to keep tabs on employees

        RT | November 25, 2015


Walmart hired global security giant Lockheed Martin a few years ago to
monitor activism in its massive workforce, according to new documents.
The defense contractor tracked employees’ social media and reported
protest participation to the retail giant.

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, provided
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, with intelligence-gathering and
surveillance services in 2012, according to a lengthy report by
Bloomberg Businessweek. The news has emerged just before Black Friday
protests by a union-funded group called OUR Walmart, the report claims.
Participants demand higher wages and reliable scheduling for Walmart
employees.

While Walmart publicly dismissed the demonstrations as “just another
union publicity stunt,” their subsequent actions indicate that they took
it seriously. In addition to hiring Lockheed Martin to keep tabs on
employees’ social media feeds, the companies ranked stores by labor
activity and monitored employees who were known to be involved in labor
activism, according to Bloomberg.

The defense contractor offers a product called LM Wisdom, which is
marketed as a tool for fighting drug and human trafficking, but which
Walmart used  to track employees in 2012 and 2013. Lockheed Martin
analysts would follow the Twitter and Facebook feeds of workers and then
report information about labor activism back to the company’s corporate
headquarters. The defense contractor also put together a map of likely
routes for five “Ride for Respect” bus caravans that were sent to HQ to
demonstrate.

In one of the documents obtained, when asked about the company’s
relationship with Lockheed Martin, Walmart Senior Vice President of
Labor Relations Karen Ann Cassey said that the company was even
“partnering with the FBI/the Joint Terrorism Task Force” to monitor
protesters that planned to go to the company’s headquarters, saying that
similar protests have become violent.

Walmart didn’t comment on the specific allegations in the Bloomberg
story, but sent a statement via email arguing that the measures had been
taken to protect their shoppers, employees and business.

“Unfortunately, there are occasions when outside groups attempt to
deliberately disrupt our business and on behalf of our customers and
associates we take action accordingly,” the statement reads.

Bloomberg retrieved the information on Lockheed Martin’s
labor-monitoring services by acquiring documents ahead of a National
Labor Relations Board hearing. The case concerns Walmart’s alleged
history retaliation against employees who protested against the
retailer.

Earlier this year, Walmart announced that its company-wide minimum wage
would go from $9 in 2015 and [to] $10. While OUR Walmart touts this wage
increase as a victory, they remain steadfast in their demand for a
minimum of $15 an hour. The group will be protesting this Black Friday
for the fourth year in a row.













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