We provide an overview of existing research that attempts to measure the prevalence of employers’ use of workplace management technologies – i.e., technologies that are used to monitor, evaluate, or make predictions about workers, or assist or augment their tasks.
New Technology & Work
California Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies
The UC Berkeley Labor Center has released a report on how and why employers in key industries are deploying new technologies, and what effects these changes could have on workers. The report, “Technological change in five industries: Threats to jobs, wages, and working conditions,” synthesizes the findings from studies released by the Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA from 2018 to 2022. The report concludes that technology’s effects on job quality – like wages and working conditions – should be just as big of a concern as its effects on the total number of jobs available.
Understanding how technological changes may unfold in different industries is essential for developing effective solutions to the challenges that workers face. In this report, we synthesize the findings of five industry studies: trucking, warehouses, health care, retail, and food delivery.
General Comments by the UC Berkeley Labor Center on the OSTP Bill of Rights for an Automated Society Initiative
The UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Technology and Work program provided input to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) initiative on developing a Bill of Rights for an Automated Society.
Today, the UC Berkeley Labor Center released a groundbreaking report that provides a new and comprehensive set of policy principles for worker technology rights in the United States.
This groundbreaking report provides a new and comprehensive set of policy principles for worker technology rights in the United States.
This report examines trends in food retail in the U.S. preceding and up through the pandemic, assessing how e-commerce is likely to affect workers in the industry in the next 5-10 years. In contrast to widespread fears that technology leads to automation-related job loss, e-commerce is creating jobs, as customers are now paying for tasks that they used to do themselves for free. But for most of these new positions, job quality is a serious concern, and the passage of Proposition 22 in California this fall exacerbates the problem.
New Report Shows E-Commerce & Food Delivery Work Growing During Recession & Unemployment, but Jobs More Precarious Than Ever
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.
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.
This paper provides an inventory of existing and proposed public policy strategies designed to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of data-driven technologies when applied in the workplace. The strategies are organized into five groups: notice and transparency, accountability, individual data rights, workplace rights, and government oversight and regulation.
In this report, we focus on trends in technology adoption in the retail sector, looking beyond the effects of the current crisis to trace how retailers are using digital technologies in ways that alter the quality and quantity of front-line retail jobs. While we recognize the pandemic’s possible impacts on the retail workplace throughout the report, the bulk of our discussion concerns longstanding trends that appear likely to continue over the next five years or longer.
New technologies in the retail sector are likely to mean more monitoring and coercion of workers, and a stronger advantage for large companies like Walmart and Amazon, according to a new report released today from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA.
This report examines the drivers of technological change in the U.S. health care industry and explores how technologies may be used in response to the challenges facing the industry over the next five to 10 years. We also assess how technological change in health care may affect health care workers, who represent 12% of total employment in the United States—around 18 million workers.
A new report from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA released today shows how technology is likely to impact job quality in healthcare and suggests that technological adoption may accelerate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We project that the industry likely won’t experience dramatic job loss over the next decade, though many workers may see the content and quality of their jobs shift as technologies are adopted for particular tasks.
Will autonomous trucks mean the end of the road for truck drivers? The $740-billion-a-year U.S. trucking industry is widely expected to be an early adopter of self-driving technology, with numerous tech companies and major truck makers racing to build autonomous trucks. This trend has led to dozens of reports and news articles suggesting that automation could effectively eliminate the truck-driving profession.
This testimony reviews the state of research on automation, discusses the importance of focusing on job quality in the technology debates, and identifies key policy questions.
To state the obvious, humans are the creators of new technology and can shape the path it takes (at least for now). Automation and displacement are not the only possible outcome.