Posts tagged automation

    AI: Jobs and Regulation

    November 13, 2023 // Despite that, while there are some basic safety precautions that should be taken, for example, to limit the extent to which AI is integrated into nuclear weapon systems, it is hard to see how, short of adopting economic autarky, the U.S. could renounce or even slow down the broader advance of AI. A technology cannot be uninvented, and, if the U.S. applied the brakes, its geopolitical or economic competitors would do their best to take advantage, by pressing on with AI, probably recruiting American experts to help in their efforts to do so. Thus it’s interesting to see that a number of European countries have been pushing back against the EU’s efforts to regulate AI development (with the harshest regulation, naturally, being reserved, EurAktiv reports, for “leading providers that currently are non-European companies”). The regulation would be “risk-based,” which, as typically interpreted in Brussels, a place where the precautionary principle is taken to absurd levels, would be bleak news for innovators.

    Opinion: Why stop at the four-day workweek?

    November 9, 2023 // s. Second, let workers unionize and collectively bargain rather than firing them for it. The road, though, doesn’t end there. “One thing you need,” said Benanav, “is something that was never really achieved in the US: actual sectoral bargaining. Not just collective bargaining at the firm level, but at the industry level.” Sectoral bargaining means unions would negotiate standards that apply to all workers in an industry, not just those who work in unionized firms. To complement that greater representation, workers would also benefit from social programs like unconditional cash transfers, universal healthcare, or as the pandemic showed, stronger unemployment insurance. We already saw early tremors of the power such reforms can hold as part of the surprisingly generous US policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the boosted unemployment insurance. “A lot of that was giving people resources to just make their own decisions,” said Konczal.

    Musk May Face Someone Else Who’s Ready for a Cage Fight

    October 10, 2023 // The long-running decline in union membership mirrors the decline in Detroit’s share of the US vehicle market. That was 90% during the industry’s, and organized labor’s, 1960s heyday. By the time of the debacle of 2009, it had fallen to about 50%. Now it’s closer to 40%. As Kevin Tynan, automotive analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, points out, the Big Three have effectively downsized by ditching cheaper models and focusing on higher-priced trucks and SUVs to chase profits. As they attempt to open up a new avenue of growth, EVs, they are confronted with big near-term costs that higher pay settlements will exacerbate. “The UAW must broaden its view if it is going to increase its membership,” says Tynan, adding “they have to stop only going back to GM, Ford and Stellantis. There is no more blood in those stones.” The UAW has been aware of this for some time, which is why it targeted foreign automakers’ factories — so called “transplants” — and Tesla itself at various points over the past decade. Such effort has been largely in vain. Tesla, meanwhile, has become profitable at scale only recently. The company’s identity as a disruptive newcomer, with plants far from the UAW’s heartland around the Great Lakes, is another barrier. It is harder to entice workers into a union when their employer is hiring at breakneck speed rather than shedding thousands of jobs. Tesla has also pushed back aggressively against unionization, as those NLRB rulings attest (Tesla is appealing several of these).

    Teamsters overwhelmingly ratify UPS contract

    August 23, 2023 // According to the Teamsters, 86.3% of voters ratified the contract, the largest margin in the long history of collective bargaining agreements between the two sides. It is unclear how many of the 340,000 unionized UPS workers cast ballots. All 44 supplemental agreements were ratified, except for a supplement covering 174 members in Florida. The national, or “master,” agreement will go into effect once the supplement is renegotiated and ratified, the Teamsters said. Each supplement covers specific regions of the country and is tailored to the needs of Teamsters members in the respective regions.

    COMMENTARY: Will generative A.I. be good for U.S. workers?

    August 10, 2023 // The implications of generative A.I. are complex. What is clear is that generative A.I. will fundamentally change the way many jobs are done. And we are optimistic that many of the jobs created will be highly skilled and well paid. To get there, though, the United States must invest in re-training and education to ensure that the workforce is prepared to succeed. On the lower end of the job market—those making less than $38,200 a year—automation and other structural changes have already had big effects. Generative A.I. could accelerate these trends, resulting in lower wage workers being 14 times more likely to need to shift occupations than high-wage workers. People without college degrees are almost twice as likely to face displacement.

    Union Gets Big Pay Raise at Inefficient West Coast Ports

    June 21, 2023 // The disruption tactics the ILWU has been using over the past few months to gain leverage in negotiations appear to have hurt its own members this year, with paid work hours down 25 percent through April 14 compared to the same period last year. That’s partly due to shippers choosing other ports and partly due to dockworkers working less on union orders. Common work actions include assigning fewer workers and slowing down the pace of work. The JOC said that cranes at the port of Seattle–Tacoma went from 25 container moves per hour to fewer than ten. As Peter Tirschwell argued on June 6 in the Wall Street Journal, by delaying negotiations for as long as it did, the ILWU might have missed an opportunity for a bigger pay raise. Ocean carriers earned extraordinary profits due to soaring container rates in 2021 and 2022, but those rates came back down to Earth at the end of last year and are largely back to normal now. And the constant uncertainty every time a West Coast contract expires contrasts with the relative ease with which the International Longshoremen’s Association, which represents East Coast dockworkers, has come to contract agreements for decades. The delay-and-prolong approach of the ILWU helps encourage shippers to go elsewhere, leaving less demand for longshore labor on the West Coast.

    For ILWU, West Coast port deal to be union-ratified, here’s what has to happen next

    June 16, 2023 // West Coast port management and the labor union representing port workers reached a tentative deal late on Wednesday after the intervention of California labor market pro and Biden acting Labor Secretary Julie Su in the negotiations in San Francisco, but it could be months before the full union votes to approve the deal. The tentative agreement was a welcome development after weeks of escalating tensions between workers and port management, resulting in delays in vessel servicing, congestion at ports, in containers and out to trucking, as well as some port shutdowns. But the proposed labor deal is a far way from being fully approved, according to the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. While the union statement on the deal was positive, it laid out a process that still has several steps to go before the deal moves ahead.

    Bill To Require Driverless Trucks To Have A Driver in the Vehicle is Backed by Labor Unions

    April 18, 2023 // A bill to require driverless trucks to have a driver in the vehicle moved closer to a crucial Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee this week, but it wasn’t just a safety bill – labor unions are backing the bill in anticipation of a close vote. Assembly Bill 316, authored by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) would prohibit the operation of an autonomous vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more on public roads for testing purposes, transporting goods, or transporting passengers without a human safety operator physically present in the autonomous vehicle at the time of operation. While AB 316 was authored by Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry, it was introduced with a bipartisan group of legislators, including Assemblymen Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose). While a few Republicans have been in favor of the bill as a way to keep jobs in rural areas, many Democrats have been in favor of the bill due to it protecting thousands of union trucking jobs and alleged safety benefits. “You don’t create a safer environment if you have a 10,000-pound vehicle out there without a human safety net,” noted California Labor Federation leader and former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who previously authored the independent contractor reclassification law AB 5, which truckers themselves had adamantly opposed.

    Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs At Risk of Automation and AI Replacement in New Jersey

    March 1, 2023 // Several media and tech companies, including BuzzFeed and Microsoft, have already stated their intentions to use artificial intelligence to generate content and improve their products. And while BuzzFeed claims that AI will not impact the size of its workforce, the announcement came a month after the company laid off 12% of its employees to cut costs. The advantages AI can offer businesses is undeniable, and the implications are impossible to ignore. AI is capable of automating a wide range of tasks that, until now, have been performed by humans. But unlike human beings, an AI does not need regular paychecks or breaks. And as AI capabilities continue to develop, virtually no industry will be left untouched. (Here is a look at the fastest growing industries in America.)

    Millions of Jobs At Risk of Automation and AI Replacement in California

    February 27, 2023 // According to a recent report from NetVoucherCodes, a U.K.-based voucher code website, automation and AI pose a high risk to 2,322,630 jobs in California in the coming years - or 16.9% of all jobs considered, the seventh smallest share among states. Distinct from AI, automation - such as the software used in automatic checkout counters or robotics used in manufacturing - poses risk to the largest number of jobs in the coming years. In California, automation poses a high risk to 2,000,730 jobs, compared to 321,900 jobs exposed to risk from AI technology.