Technology Continues to Evolve in Union Organizing
We did a regional meeting yesterday in Philadelphia where we discussed several things including the continuing efforts of organized labor to develop technology solutions that will help them be more effective in organizing workers. One of the technology tools I mentioned was a new mobile phone app called Workit. The Workit app was created by the group OURWalmart and is available only in Android as of right now.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the app is using IBM’s Watson AI technology to build and develop a set of answers to questions from employees that get curated by the device over time. There is also a group of live people behind the app to provide a more human touch.
“OUR Walmart developed the WorkIt app with Quadrant 2, a New York City-based software development company that has designed products for companies and activist organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union.
The app uses International Business Machines Corp.’s Watson artificial-intelligence technology to build a set of answers to employee questions over time, said Jason Van Anden, founder of Quadrant 2. If Watson is stumped “there is a peer network of experts that will interact with the users,” said Mr. Van Anden.”
Walmart has been pointing out to their employees that the app is not from the company, and reminding them that information contained in the app may not be correct.
“There is no way to know if the details this group is pushing are correct,” Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said in an emailed statement. “Our people are smart and see this for what it is: an attempt by an outside group to collect as much personal and private information as possible.”
Here are some screenshots of the app and the description of functionality from the Android Play store page:
WorkIt is a completely FREE app available for Android users to get advice on workplace rights and policies from a group of trained peer advisors and other workers. WorkIt’s trained advisors are current and former Walmart Associates who are volunteering their time to provide support and advice to other Associates.
Use WorkIt to:
ASK QUESTIONS: Ask questions either anonymously or as a registered user about workplace policy and your workplace rights and get quick advice from a group of trained advisors.
GET SUPPORT*: Share and hear from other Associates on their experiences with the same questions and issues.
COMMON QUESTIONS*: View the most common questions that other Associates are asking, from sick time to management, we’ve got advice and recommendations.
CHAT and GROUP CHAT*: Communicate with other users and share your experiences safely and securely via topic chat or group chat.
PUSH NOTIFICATIONS: Get notified when you have answers or when there are updates that may affect you in your workplace.
* for registered users only
The permissions WorkIt needs to run on your mobile app are:
INTERNET and ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE: Allows WorkIt to access the internet through your 4G/3G/2G/Edge or Wi-fi, as available
READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, and CAMERA : Allows WorkIt to user your camera on your mobile device to take a profile picture (optional) and store on your device.
* Your location, contacts, photos, and/or any associated financial information stored on your mobile device is not accessed or used by WorkIt.
WorkIt was built for and by people who work in hourly retail jobs to help connect people to information and each other. WorkIt will help you work out your workplace issues together!
If you like WorkIt, please like and share on Facebook and Instagram!