Workit is an Android app from OUR Walmart, a pro-labor/pro-union organization: it allows Walmart workers to ask questions about Walmart policy and employee rights, which are answered by a database compiled by using IBM's Watson to come up with answers to hundreds of frequently posed questions; questions can also be answered by other users.
Workit users can be anonymous, or they can identify themselves, and they can use the app to chat with one another and share their stories and concerns. The app is designed so that its users' personal information stay on their own devices, rather than being stored on OUR Walmart's servers. OUR Walmart does give researchers access to the user forums, and does use those discussions in their negotiations with Walmart on behalf of users.
Despite this, Walmart has warned its employees that Workit is sucking up their personally identifying information, handing out incorrect answers to their questions, and abusing their trust.
“We’re not going to sell the data, ever,” clarifies one of the WorkIt creators to Bloomberg. “We will share it with researchers and use it to inform conversations with Walmart. But it’s not part of the revenue model.”
The company also contends that WorkIt may be providing inaccurate information.
“Our associates already have anytime-access online to the company’s most current and accurate Paid Time Off and Leave policies and there is no way to know if the details this group is pushing are correct,” says Walmart.
The folks behind WorkIt say what they’ve built has applications beyond Walmart, and that they hope to license the app to other labor groups and possibly even to companies that want to give their employees a way to communicate with each other.
Walmart Warns Workers: Don’t Download Chat App From Labor Organization [Chris Morran/Consumerist]