Technology unions and automation of labour
Technology unions and automation of labour
Dr. Tamaro J. Green, DS
This article was original published for Software Test News, 2021–02–08
Technology unions may be a response to shifts in labour caused by automation (Dahlin, 2019; Frank et al., 2019). Compa (2014) explains the transition in history from laws that restricted to laws that permitted collective bargaining. Collective bargaining regulations began in the transportation sector and then traveled to the private and public sectors (Compa, 2014). A view of labour unions is that they are not needed in the society of today because management has enlightened past exploitation of workers (Compa, 2014).
Automation such as industrial robots has created new trends in the labour force (Frank et al., 2019). New demands in labour and emerging labour markets allow for shadow economies and informal firms to develop. Němec, Kotlánová, Kotlán, and Machová (2021) explore capital accumulation in shadow economies. Floridi, Demena, and Wagner (2020) review policies that governments have established to informal employment and economies and to formalize informal firms.
Without unions, shadow economies and informal firms may have the potential to have less protection for the rights of workers. Harassment may persist in shadow economies or informal firms. Wylie (2018) defines “academic mobbing” as a process for bullying a person from an organization on the pretext that they are a threat to the organization with tactics such as excluding them from participation or targeting their reputation. Harassment such as academic mobbing may take place in a shadow economy or informal firm.
Technology workers in shadow economies or informal firms are in their right to form unions. Levine (2001) explains that federal law authorizes the right to join unions, unions are exempt from antitrust law, and closed and genuine union shops are illegal. The union may support regulators in legitimizing informal firms and lead to full-time employment opportunities. McCausland, Summerfield, and Theodossiou (2020) suggest that full-time workers improve productivity for an industry more than part-time workers as they are more likely to receive training and work more hours.
Research continues on how to improve labour markets and make them fair and equitable. Bun and Huberts (2018) compare compensation based on productivity and performance. Automation continues to be a force that has to be addressed for the shift of labour markets. Dahlin (2019) provide a regression model estimation of whether automation will affect the prevalence of certain jobs. Frank et al. (2019) describes how artificial intelligence shifts demands for specific skills and influences the economy in education and career development requirements. As labour markets shift, new ways for rewarding employees may also need to be developed for human capital to compete with robots. Berlinski and Ramos (2020) evaluate the effects that public announcements of professional awards can have on the applications for awards.
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