June 15, 2021
The Centre for Future Work has published another major paper in its PowerShare project, dealing with the impact of new technology on the quantity and quality of work in Canada – and strategies for ensuring that new technology produces more benefits for workers.
The paper is entitled Bargaining Tech: Strategies for Shaping Technological Change to Benefit Workers, co-authored by Jim Stanford and Kathy Bennett. It provides an overview of the complex, contradictory ways that technological change is affecting jobs in Canada. It also discusses how technology could be better managed and implemented to achieve better, fairer, more inclusive high-tech outcomes.
The report reviews recent debates about whether new technology will lead to mass unemployment (with workers replaced by robots and other smart machines), or will degrade the quality and autonomy of work (exemplified by hyper-intense algorithm-directed jobs in high-tech warehouses or the gig economy).
The paper also reviews efforts by trade unions in Canada to shape and regulate the introduction of new technologies in their workplaces.