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Seattle, WA — According to employees at an area electronics supply store, the management at Plugs Electronic Warehouse announced plans to ‘bar code’ staff as a way to improve “operational efficiencies.” The decision was made at Plugs management met with human resources firm Workforce Automation (WF) in an attempt to contain rising labor and health care costs.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Plugs Director of Operations Jeffrey Hammeldoff. “Our health care and other operational costs are skyrocketing. By ‘smart tagging’ our employees with UPCs, we can track their movement not only around Plugs but also in other locations participating in WF’s platform. All of this information is fed into the cloud, where we can analyze it to improve both work performance but lower costs. This means a better value for Plugs customers.”

Workforce Automation is adamant that the branding of humans is not an invasion of privacy, but rather a way to provide employees with “a less intrusive way to improve their career options,” compared to traditional human resource management.

“This is all about a smarter workforce,” said Workforce Automation communications director Bethany Millbright. “People are wearing all kinds of smart devices these days. I’m wearing a FitBit watch now. Clearly, there has been a cultural shift toward sharing personal data and improving efficiency. Think of WF’s smart tagging as the equivalent of companies monitoring your fitness. In this case, it’s a way to improve your job fitness.”

Privacy and labor advocates are decrying this move to tattoo employees.

“Look,” said former Labor Secretary Robert Reich speaking on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday, “we’re moving in the wrong direction. This is but one more step in dehumanizing the American workforce, and frankly, and please pardon my use of the term, fascist in how this appeals to the authoritarian forces of both the government and business.”

According to Ms. Millbright, smart-tagging of employees is currently in the testing phases. If successful, larger firms plan on experimenting with the new technology.

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