Bringing transparency and clarity to
OUR Walmart (OUR) works to ensure that every Walmart associate, regardless of his or her
title, age, race, or sex, is respected at Walmart.
OUR came to The Workers Lab with an idea in its very infancy, a digital organizing network, mostly on mobile, that would allow workers to access real time workplace advice, connect to critical social services, and document workplace issues. After participating in an Enterprise Institute, we provided them with $20,000 in direct financial support, another $20,000 in support of a hack-a-thon to develop prototypes, business development support, and connections to prospective business partners. OUR proceeded to hire a seasoned Chief Technology Officer and embarked on a successful fundraising campaign to further develop the prototype. In November 2016, after preliminary user testing with about 200 users, OUR publicly launched WorkIt, an app that leverages IBM powered artificial intelligence to respond to worker questions related to human resource policies.
We learned that when organizations like OUR seek out partners to co-create tools that can enhance their organizing work, or reach a broader scale of workers, it can be difficult to translate between the tech sector and the social impact sector. On the worker organizing side, there has been and continues to be a reluctance to embrace digital tools and online organizing. On the tech side, it can be very difficult to communicate exactly what challenges workers face as these are often new and nuanced challenges that technologists are not accustomed to. This partnership has reinforced that we must continue facilitating conversations that make connections between labor, tech, power-building, and social entrepreneurship as they are not often organic.