In a settlement made public today Walmart and Mercury Public Affairs agreed to destroy any recordings made at a press conference last year that was co-sponsored by Warehouse Workers United and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The companies settled to avoid a trial after federal authorities investigated and authorized a complaint over a federal charge filed by Warehouse Workers United.
At the June 2012 press conference, warehouse worker Santos Castaneda was interviewed by a Mercury Public Affairs staffer posing as a student journalist. The public relations agent said her name was Zoe Mitchell and that she was a journalism student at the University of Southern California. The next week, the same woman appeared at a press event in front of the proposed location for a Walmart in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. This time she used her real identity, Stephanie Harnett, and said she was representing Walmart.
Cartoonist Lalo Alcarez documented the saga with a cartoon: