Across sectors and industries, the use of increasingly sophisticated tech-enabled management and production tools to track human activity has been ramping up, both in and outside of the workplace. These tools are having and will continue to have a profound impact on work. Some impacts may be positive – relieving workers of dangerous tasks or improving productivity. But many are degrading workplace conditions – displacing workers, imposing invasive surveillance, and collecting vast amounts of personal data. This means that it is essential both to our economic well-being and our efforts to preserve the basic democratic practice that workers are able to collectively address the integration of managerial software, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic decision-making on the job.
In “Worker Power and Voice in the AI Response,” we outline a series of action-oriented recommendations to respond to the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace, such as banning the use of AI to advocate against collective bargaining, mandating an AI Impact Monitor, and access to human beings when algorithm-based decisions such as firings are made, and requiring the NLRB to develop penalties if AI surveillance is abused. This report covers timely challenges across a range of topics, from surveillance to collective bargaining rights to digital communications.
At the heart of our analysis is an insistence that workers have an active role in monitoring and assessing how AI is used in the workplace. However, we also want to preface this report by acknowledging it does not come from a fear of technology or its myriad uses. By providing a roadmap to implementing strategies that empower workers in the integration of technology in workplaces, we advocate for building a proactive model of worker participation that future-proofs labor law, tech policy, and democracy.