This paper offers a framework for understanding the broad range of data collection strategies and algorithmic systems currently in use or being developed for the workplace. It describes key technologies and how they operate, the context in which they evolved, and their potential applications in the workplace.
Future of Work & Workers
Lisa Kresge is a research and policy associate in the Low-Wage Work program at the Labor Center, where she studies the intersection of technological change, low-wage work, and inequality. Her research focuses on data collection and algorithmic technologies in the workplace. Lisa has also conducted research on tax policy as it relates to new technologies and technology companies as well as collective bargaining strategies in response to technological change. Prior to joining the Labor Center, Lisa conducted research on farmworker health, housing, and working conditions at the California Institute for Rural Studies. She has a multidisciplinary background in the social sciences, including a dual undergraduate degree in anthropology and sociology and a master’s degree in community development from UC Davis. Lisa is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in economic geography at UC Davis.
This paper reviews strategies that unions have used to leverage their collective bargaining agreements to address technological change, both past and present. It groups these approaches into three categories: those focused on establishing rights and roles regarding the decision to adopt new technology, those designed to mitigate the introduction of new technology, and those related to the use of technology in workforce management.
“The lesson of self-checkout is that all this technology still requires a substantial amount of human labor to back up these systems,” said Lisa Kresge, research and policy associate at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.