6 creepy things Walmart does to stay union-free.

Have you ever felt like you're being watched? It's creepy.

Image by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.


Now imagine it's happening at work, and it's your boss who's watching. So is their boss. And their boss' boss. And the company lawyers. And probably the board of directors.

They're all tuned in to you.

It's not because of your job performance. I mean, let's be real: You obviously deserve a raise. Or a trophy, at the least.

Strangely, they're watching you because of your valuesspecifically those having to do with what you believe makes a "fair" workplace.

If you work at Walmart, it may not be in your imagination.

In 2012, as Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, prepared for the holiday shopping bonanza, activists across the country, including some of the company's front-line employees, geared up for protests.

Their goal was (and still is) to pressure the company for non-poverty wages and benefits — you know, the typical signs of work with dignity.

Walmart: Always low. Photos by Matt Hamilton/Neon Tommy/Flickr.

They also want Walmart management to stop intimidating employees who speak up on workplace issues. The company, in case you weren't aware, is a notorious union-buster.

Walmart's alleged "retaliatory" acts against employees who protested has become the subject of a labor law inquiry.

The initial details, assembled for a National Labor Relations Board hearing, have been revealed in a more than 4,000-word exposé by Bloomberg Business.

No decision has been reached yet, but a lot of information has been uncovered on how Walmart handles situations in which workers attempt to exercise their right to organize for a reasonable voice in their work lives.

Here are six discoveries:

1. They have a hotline for managers to report union activity.


Image by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

In an interview with CBS Evening News, Walmart spokesman David Tovar called the protests "another union publicity stunt," implying the company didn't see the protesters as a threat.

Despite that, Walmart beefed up staffing for a dedicated labor hotline for store managers to report activity so executives could pre-empt organizing efforts among unsatisfied workers.

2. They created a "playbook" for stopping union drives.


This is not from Walmart's union-busting playbook. But it makes just as much sense. Image by opensource.com/Flickr (altered).

The document, creatively titled "A Manager's Toolbox To Remaining Union Free," psychs up managers with lines like, "As a member of Wal-Mart's management team, you are our first line of defense against unionization."

To be clear, it's not because the company has a problem with unions: "We are not anti-union; we are pro-associate."

(Unless, of course, their associates want a union.)

3. They form special teams to deal with disgruntled workers.

Image by RadioKirk/Wikimedia Commons (altered).

At the faintest whiff of workers uniting in common purpose, Walmart mobilizes special "Delta teams" to stop union activity in its tracks.

Members of the labor rights group OUR Walmart have reported executives from the company's Bentonville, Arkansas-based headquarters showing up at stores on a moment's notice, armed with talking points and legalese to derail organizing efforts.

4. They hired a defense contractor to spy on activist workers.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

Walmart hired defense contractor Lockheed Martin to gather intelligence on activist workers. Specifically, they use the contractor's data analysis tool LM Wisdom.

According to Lockheed Martin's website, the tool "monitors and analyzes rapidly changing open source intelligence data … [that] has the power to incite organized movements, riots and sway political outcomes."


Emails produced in discovery for the NLRB hearing include social media monitoring updates from Lockheed Martin. Favianna Rodriguez, an artist and activist (not a Walmart employee) whose tweets were among the LM updates, told Bloomberg, "We're artists, not ISIS."

5. They paint protesters as terrorist threats to gain access to federal resources.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

In 2013, protests were planned at the company's headquarters to coincide with a high-profile shareholder meeting. 14,000 people were expected to attend the meeting, including shareholders, investors, the Walton family, and even Elton John.

When company executives heard members of the Occupy movement were expected to join the protests, they enlisted the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. No details have been released on the nature of the collaboration.

But in a show of how cozy Walmart may be with the feds, they a hired former FBI officer as their head of global security.

6. They will hurt many for the rightful actions of a few.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

In 1999, a small group of butchers at a Walmart location in Jacksonville, Texas, voted to unionize — it was their legal right, and they democratically decided it would serve their best interests.

Walmart's response didn't just hurt the newly organized meat cutters. They shut down every meat counter in every U.S. store and switched to only pre-packaged cuts.

Of course, the company wouldn't admit that it was about the union. Walmart spokeswoman Jessica Moser told the Associated Press, "Our decision to expand case-ready meat has nothing to do with what went on in Jacksonville."

This isn't just a problem for Walmart workers.

Again, we're talking about the largest private employer in the United States. Low-wage retail workers are the most common workers in the nation, and Walmart sets the tempo for how they're treated.

Not terrorists. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

The nation is at a crossroads, and our choice is between corporate domination or economic freedom for millions of people. It's a David and Goliath story if there ever were one. Who are you rooting for?

If you stand with Walmart workers, sign OUR Walmart's petition calling for consistent full-time scheduling and a $15 minimum wage.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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