It is actually very sad that you may not be shocked to learn that America’s largest corporate employer used expensive private spies to surveil its own employees who had the audacity to ask not to be paid poverty wages.
We are talking about Walmart! Walmart, America’s largest employer, America’s favorite place to shop and to work, America’s prime payer of wages so low that workers must still be on public assistance. Walmart, a $192 billion company owned by the richest and greediest family in America, a company that dodges billions in taxes, a company that steadfastly does anything and everything necessary to bust unions and prevent its employees from working together to better their lowly conditions. Fucking Walmart.
In a new investigative story that you should read in full, Bloomberg’s Susan Berfield details Walmart’s corporate spying program. Why does a seller of shitty box fans and Ritz crackers need to employ subcontractors like Lockheed Martin for spying duties? The answer, of course, is “to spy on the union-backed worker group OUR Walmart that was committing outrageous offenses such as ‘protesting Walmart’s shitty wages’ and ‘asking for predictable scheduling practices so that worker’s lives were not fully controlled by this company, Walmart, that also paid them shitty wages.’”
Berfield’s story details the absurd lengths that Walmart went to to monitor and fret over Black Friday protests held across the country a couple of years ago. Then there’s this, about Walmart’s response when it heard about a planned protest at its headquarters in Bentonville, which should give you some sense of the mindstate of those in control of the company:
A Delta team began operations. When global security heard that members of the Occupy movement might join the protests at corporate headquarters, they began working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces....
“With some assistance from LM [Lockheed Martin] we have created the attached map to track the caravan movements and approximate participants,” Kris Russell, a risk program senior manager, wrote to colleagues on May 30. The map showed the predicted routes for five buses.
The FBI. Lockheed Martin. The DELTA TEAM. These are the lengths that Walmart will go to simply to avoid (well deserved) bad PR. If it would put the same amount of effort into taking care of its own “associates,” perhaps so many of them wouldn’t be moved to protest in the first place.
Those who own and control Walmart are a truly despicable cabal.