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WORKERS SUE KMART OVER SPYING; FRAUD, DECEIT AND PRIVACY VIOLATIONS ARE SUBJECT OF COURT ACTION, TEAMSTERS UNION SAYS

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Teamsters Union issued the following:
 Nationwide retail giant Kmart is being sued for spying on its own workers on the job, outside of work, and even in their own homes, according to the Teamsters Union.
 The details of the spy network were revealed today as 19 of the victims of Kmart's spying at the company's Manteno, Ill., warehouse took their case against the corporation and its private investigating firm to court in Chicago.
 The workers first learned that the company had placed spies among them several months ago, when they received an anonymous package containing invoices and a report prepared for Kmart management by Confidential Investigative Consultants, Inc. The report included transcriptions of conversations between two spies and the employees, who accepted them as coworkers and friends.
 The complaint, which was filed this morning in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., characterizes Kmart's surveillance of its employees as "outrageously intrusive, extending far beyond workplace concerns and legitimate management concerns."
 The employees voted to become members of the Teamsters Union in July and are represented by legal counsel from the Chicago firm of Johnson Jones and Snelling, who have been retained by the union.
 "Kmart's spies posed as the workers' friends while they poked into their private lives and thoughts, and even followed them into their homes," said Teamster President Ron Carey. "Kmart has exploited the workers' trust and violated their good faith. We are asking the court to hold the company accountable for this illegal spying."
 The spies at Kmart infiltrated the workplace and ingratiated themselves to such an extent that they gained access to the workers off the job and in their homes, the union said. The surveillance report covered such issues as where an employee shopped, a female employee's living arrangements, an employee's off-duty fishing plans and employees' views about unionism.
 The suit alleges that the company has violated the workers' right to privacy under Illinois law, has resulted in the infliction of anguish and severe emotional distress upon them, has jeopardized their job security, promotion opportunities and job benefits at Kmart and their employment opportunities elsewhere.
 "I feel betrayed by the company, and I feel that we have no choice but to fight back," said warehouse worker Lewis Hubbell, who has 28 years of service at Kmart. "Kmart was wrong to spy on working people who are just trying to feed their families. I was loyal to Kmart, but they weren't loyal to me."
 Hubbell recently moved to the new Manteno facility after Kmart eliminated his job in Fort Wayne, Ind., with Hubbell seven years short of his pension. "Leaving Indiana was the hardest thing I've ever done," said Hubbell. "I had to leave my friends, my church, my son -- even my cemetery plot is back there."
 Newly arrived in Manteno and waiting for his wife and daughter to join him, Hubbell befriended one of the spies -- the male of a husband- and-wife team from Confidential Investigative Consultants. Hubbell invited the spy, Al Posego, to share beers with him after work and come into his home. "Al was an everyday guy -- except that he went home and wrote reports," Hubbell said.
 The lawsuit, which is filed on behalf of Hubbell and 28 other Kmart workers, asks the court to:
 -- find that Kmart's surveillance activity violates Illinois' privacy law, that it constitutes fraud and deceit of employees, and that it breaches the employees' contract with Kmart and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in contracting;
 -- enjoin Kmart and the Confidential Investigation Consultants from engaging in such conduct;
 -- order compensatory and punitive damages to each plaintiff who was the subject of unlawful surveillance; and
 -- grant plaintiffs their costs and such additional or alternative relief as is just, proper and equitable.
 -0- 9/14/93
 /CONTACT: Nancy Stella or Matt Witt, 202-624-6911, or Don Wiener, 312-341-4713, all of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters/
 (KM)


CO: International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Kmart ST: Illinois IN: REA SU:

MH-DC -- DC007 -- 1666 09/14/93 10:05 EDT
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Date:Sep 14, 1993
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