A predicted boom in warehouse automation did not materialize, according to this new report.
Technology & Work
California Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies
The pandemic’s myriad effects on the U.S. economy will be the subject of research and attention for many years to come. In this report, we delve into some of the pandemic’s impacts by focusing on one question: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect technology adoption in U.S. warehouses?
Response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Request for Information on Automated Worker Surveillance and Management
Our goal in this comment is to highlight evidence indicating the prevalence of automated workplace surveillance and management technologies, impact on workers resulting from employers’ use of these systems, and principles and policy models for worker technology rights and protections.
This report explores how governments use technology, what drives technology adoption, and how technologies affect public sector workers and the delivery of public services. Using examples across local, state, and federal governments, the report finds that transparency and accountability have lagged behind rapid technology adoption in the wake of COVID-19, and that public sector workers play a critical role in ensuring that technology is used to strengthen the ability of governments to provide quality and equitable public services.
Berkeley Blog post. Employers are increasingly using digital technologies to hire, manage, and monitor workers, largely without any regulation. But on January 1, California took a first step towards worker data rights when new amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect and covered workers at large businesses.
A 1987 report from the federal Office of Technology Assessment recognized the potential for employers to misuse and abuse new technologies resulting in adverse effects for workers, but recommended a “wait and see” approach due to lack of data to justify regulation. This blog post reviews decades of research since publication of the report that finds electronic performance monitoring (EPM) systems do increase worker stress and cause other harms.
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.
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.