OUR Walmart and Collective Labor Power

Awarded Scholars:
Richard B. Freeman, Harvard University
Project Date:
Sep 2017
Award Amount:

Co-funded with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Alternative labor (alt-labor) groups have begun to experiment with modern information communication technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), to give workers the information and advice needed to foster getting together online, as well as offline, and to promote collective action regarding employment and working conditions. One such effort is OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect at Walmart), a labor startup which aims to build collective labor power in Walmart, the nation's largest single employer. In 2016, OUR Walmart launched the Workit chat application (app) that  informs Walmart employees about their rights at the company, connects employees to volunteer experts, and facilitates online discussion of workplace problems. Labor economist Richard Freeman will study the success of this effort in building collective labor power. He will examine the take-up and use of the Workit app and the extent to which there are links between protest activities by OUR Walmart and Fight for $15 and the increase in wages in the relevant work group.


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