Worker Rights in the Age of AI

February 22, 2024

Policymakers already have one tool to address technological change: labor policy.

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Worker Power Can Take On Technological Change

As last year’s strikes have shown, the creeping role of artificial intelligence in the workplace is a growing concern among workers. But the potential harms of technology are not inevitable. In a new brief, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Beth Gutelius explores how policymakers can take a proactive approach to the impact of technological transition on workers: by strengthening labor rights and worker power.

After decades of neoliberal policy, declining union density, weak labor market regulations, and underresourced enforcement mechanisms have eroded democratic participation in the workplace, Gutelius writes. In response, three labor policy tools could ensure workers have a say in how their workplaces adopt and implement new technologies: expanded union representation and collective bargaining, strengthened regulatory frameworks, and robust enforcement and accountability.

“A common neoliberal ideological thread ties together the underlying problems this brief addresses,” Gutelius writes, “one that asserts the primacy of corporations and insists that the role of government is, at best, to support and structure free-market solutions for economic and social issues. . . .” But with that old economic order fading, policymakers have the opportunity to create new structures that empower labor to shape decisions around technology—and all concerns—in the workplace.

Read more in “Good Labor Policy Is Good Technology Policy: Worker Voice in Technological Change.”


What We’re Talking About


What We’re Reading

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