Public security app Citizen is paying contract workers overseas to listen to US emergency scanners, sparking a current union drive amongst its New York staff.
While staffers at New York City-based Citizen used to be chargeable for listening to emergency scanners and writing up studies on police and emergency calls, that activity is now being outsourced to about 200 contractors based totally in Nairobi, Kenya, The Post has realized.
The cost-cutting transfer has left New York employees apprehensive about their future on the company — and concerning the accuracy of Citizen’s security studies, that are despatched out to 7 million customers throughout 30 US cities.
“We’re actually at a really low point for quality,” a Citizen source advised The Post, including that the brand new contractors “are all very young and not as experienced.”
Starting this Wednesday, overseas workers shall be totally chargeable for sifting via all dwell emergency radio feeds within the US, in accordance to the source, who works at Citizen however isn’t immediately concerned within the union drive.
Once the overseas workers hear one thing sufficiently newsworthy — like cops responding to a capturing in Brooklyn or firemen battling a three-alarm hearth in Beverly Hills — the story shall be “leveled up” and a US-based Citizen staffer shall be chargeable for writing notifications and filtering via user-submitted images and movies, in accordance to the source.
All these duties have been beforehand dealt with by Citizen’s US “central operations” staff, whose staff are actually transferring to kind a union. As the staff’s duties have shrunk below the outsourcing plan, it has seen advantages like free meals taken away and paid break day insurance policies have develop into extra restrictive. They have been additionally advised they shouldn’t hassle making use of for different jobs at Citizen as a result of they wouldn’t get them, in accordance to the source.
While there haven’t been any official rounds of layoffs, there’s a way throughout the group that they’re “being winnowed down,” the source stated, including that eight to 10 central operations staff out of 80 have left the company over the previous two months. None of them have been changed.
“People who are putting in their two weeks and want to finish up their two weeks are being told to leave immediately and being cut off from all their communications,” the source stated.
Some workers at Citizen are additionally reportedly involved about making low-paid CloudFactory contractors listen to hours and hours of emergency calls within the US. These calls can embrace graphic descriptions of shootings, automobile wrecks and different gory occasions.
“They’re listening to pretty horrific things over the radio and they’re not getting the same mental health care as our analysts,” the source stated.
Citizen — which has raised $133 million in funding from backers together with Peter Thiel — didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. A company spokesperson advised The Post on Monday that the company was towards “meddling from an outside union.”
The agency allegedly dealing with Citizen’s outsourcing known as CloudFactory, which didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
“CloudFactory uses technology to make it super easy and affordable to automate and outsource routine, but critically important data work so our customers can focus on the big things that will move their businesses forward,” reads the company’s website.