Automation killing jobs

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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:14 am

Actually, my point was that the integration you refer to is part of automation. Or, more precisely, that automation will mean the integration/convergence of human and machine. That was the video presenter's pov as well. And that machines (technology) can make humans more capable and efficient. It would also lead to new industries and job creation --except that production might be done in Asia. Oh well.

I'm not against it. I don't fear it or the loss of control. I know there are plenty who do. Whether they're Luddites or just old-fashioned is up to you. I know people who said they'd never need email or a pc.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Michael on Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:07 am

Steve James wrote:Unions are not permitted in many states. See https://www.nrtw.org/right-to-work-states/

Not permitted? Companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon successfully keep them out, but there are no laws against unions.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:29 am

Ok, the laws generally say something like "no company can force someone to join or not join, belong or not belong to a union or organization as a condition of employment." And "employment contracts cannot be made on the basis of union or non-union membership." The result is "yes," employees at Amazon could form a union in a right to work state. But, Amazon doesn't have to recognize it. And, Walmart can just find reasons to fire employees who try to organize.

In NY and CA, the laws simply say that employees can organize, engage in collective bargaining, and can require companies to hire union labor. Yep, some people think that's a bad thing. It must be better in states where companies can choose to pay employees that do the same work different wages. It's how Amazon can say "keep up or get another job." Or, just fire someone for no reason.

So, it's not that you can't form a union. It's just that you can be punished for trying or even talking about it. And, if you do form one, the business does not have to respect it or bargain with it. Needless to say, I favor unions. I've been in one for 40 + years, and elected delegate for about 10.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby everything on Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:59 pm

What is the role/function of unions in the case where a job category is eliminated by technology? They're not organized by category?

To make a stupid example, if Blockbuster had had union workers, it wouldn't matter to help them when the industry tech moved to streaming?

Or are these two topics not related? Something in between?
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:40 pm

What is the role/function of unions in the case where a job category is eliminated by technology?


Faulty premise. Unions don't exist outside of jobs. Workers form unions so that they have a united voice when it comes to bargaining (about hours, work conditions, work loads, benefits, insurance, etc). They don't control the market for the things they produce. If your company makes widgets, and widgets go out of style. It won't matter if there's a union.

I'm not sure if tech companies have unions. But, unions are not always necessary. Astrophysicists usually belong to unions because they work at universities or they work for some branch of civil service or the military. There's no union for astrophysicists. Now, I'd bet the people who grind lenses for telescopes do, as do the people who paint the labs. :)
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:34 pm

Tech companies, in the US, in my experience, do not have unions
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby everything on Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:24 pm

Steve James wrote:
What is the role/function of unions in the case where a job category is eliminated by technology?


Faulty premise. Unions don't exist outside of jobs. Workers form unions so that they have a united voice when it comes to bargaining (about hours, work conditions, work loads, benefits, insurance, etc). They don't control the market for the things they produce. If your company makes widgets, and widgets go out of style. It won't matter if there's a union.

I'm not sure if tech companies have unions. But, unions are not always necessary. Astrophysicists usually belong to unions because they work at universities or they work for some branch of civil service or the military. There's no union for astrophysicists. Now, I'd bet the people who grind lenses for telescopes do, as do the people who paint the labs. :)


ah gotcha ok thanks. so the unions are organized in some industry which uses some kind of technology with its labor to produce some specific good for a market. so if the widgets go out of style, like ICE cars are starting to do (supposedly), you may need to form a new union around a new production for something else, like for EVs (for example). supposedly the pace of technological change is accelerating. so this kind of organizing will have to adapt faster, possibly.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Steve James on Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:52 pm

Unions are an effect, not a cause. Their organization is a function of employee needs (and wants). If the company provides enough, there's often no need for a union. Construction workers form unions for different reasons than factory workers. If the company one works for provides decent pay (i.e., enough to satisfy one's desires), a decent work environment, health benefits, etc., the workers might not demand a union.

It's true that new industries may find workers organizing and forming unions that hadn't existed before or changing what that union controls. The obvious example is the Teamsters (trucker) union --that is named after mule and horse teams that carried goods across the nation. A different example is the Steamfitters, who used to work on steam engines but now work on boilers. But, the electrician's union didn't exist before electricity. And, btw, electricians get a license from the state to work. They can determine their own pay scale.

And, of course, occupations that don't have unions can often have "associations". But, that's a way to monitor the "trade" and who's practicing it, like doctors and nurses. Companies with profit sharing and/or worker ownership also tend not to need unions.

Yes, there are corrupt union leaders who get paybacks, make deals with organized criminals, or steal from the union treasury. Um, they're no more corrupt than some businessmen.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby grzegorz on Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:56 am

Steve James wrote:Unions are not permitted in many states. See https://www.nrtw.org/right-to-work-states/

If the people in those states wanted, they could change their laws. However, they have been convinced that unions are bad for their workers, consumers, and employers. In fact, the cost of living in non-union states might be lower. So are wages, though. Otoh, these states can be great places to retire if one has a pension coming from unionized working.

But Greg, you know the story. People hate unions, but they're the only reason we have weekends, holidays, sick days, workplace safety regulations, etc.


True that Steve.

Tons of irony. I also find it interesting how an American can move China, complain about China and yet criticize Americans who immigrated here who speak up when we don't live up to our ideals.

Also for me, expats are immigrants they just don't know it yet.
Last edited by grzegorz on Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby everything on Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:26 pm

jack ma vs. elon musk on AI killing jobs and more

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/jack- ... yptr=yahoo

ma noted that electricity is what gave humans a lot more time. you can go do stuff at night.
AI will give us even more time.
so jobs will be about making humans happier.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby Steve James on Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:09 am

Well, anybody got a 401K or pension fund? People I know have seen a loss, albeit small. Just asking.

I also read that farmers are complaining about losses. AI may be the least of our problems. Although, GM and other big companies have been cutting back. Yeah, the T can blame it on bad business practices or management, the fact is that everything they do is to maintain or increase profits.
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Re: Automation killing jobs

Postby everything on Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:47 pm

on the financial markets tangent, yeah, stocks way down in August although still up quite a lot over 2 year period. bonds way way up in past year. if you're a passive investor, just depends on your asset allocation, age/risk.
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