A smartphone app built to educate Wal-Mart employees on company policies has created a riff between the company and the labor group responsible for the app, OUR Wal-Mart. The app WorkIt debuted on Monday and gives users information on workplace rights at Wal-Mart. Employees enter questions in the WorkIt app, and current or former Wal-Mart employees answer the questions. IBM Watson also works in the background, and creators expect it to eventually answer more of the questions faster. Wal-Mart has told employees to be wary of the app because the software isn’t authorized by the company.
Total Retail’s Take: OUR Wal-Mart is the group responsible for the 2012 and 2013 nationwide protests for higher wages and better working conditions. The group is trying to help Wal-Mart employees understand their rights, but is causing quite a stir. USA Today reports that OUR Wal-Mart reps say store supervisors are holding meetings to intimidate employees not to download WorkIt. Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart told managers to alert employees that WorkIt was not an official Wal-Mart app, and that it could result in unwanted sharing of personal information. Hopefully all parties involved can resolve the dispute before the issue gets out of hand.