In its recent announcement, Microsoft has confirmed reaching a deal with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) that prioritizes worker inclusion and enlightenment in its AI development initiatives. The deal features obligations for a public policy that educates and supports workers’ needs.
The global largest federation of international labor unions revealed in its Monday December 11 briefing that it reached a deal with US-headquartered tech giant Microsoft Corp.
The deal permits the employees to unionize and initiate talks regarding artificial intelligence usage and implementation within the company.
Microsoft president Brad Smith hailed the deal in a statement that indicated that engaging the labor leaders directly would ensure the AI development serves the interest of the country’s workforce.
Smith labeled the agreement a groundbreaking partnership prioritizing honoring the workers’ rights. Also, Microsoft is to reap from the labor leaders’ advice in its pursuit of developing AI technology.
Smith lauded the deal as timely since it will facilitate Microsoft with a receptive channel to inculcate skills projected to become crucial in the AI era.
Microsoft to Elighten Workers in AI Technology Development Trends
The AFL-CIO disclosed that the agreement targets easing information dissemination regarding AI technology trends among workers and labor leaders. Also, it would feature updates on integrating employee and expertise perspectives within the AI technology development.
The deal yields a platform Microsoft will leverage to shape the public policy supporting AI technology skills and resolving needs portrayed by frontline employees.
The AFL-CIO president, Liz Shuler, described the partnership as reflective of employees’ essential input in developing, deploying, and regulating AI and affiliate technologies.
Shuler added that the neutrality exercised by Microsoft in formulating the framework and the need to embrace employees’ expertise signals that the upcoming AI era can catalyze productive labor-management partnerships.
Established 68 years ago, the AFL-CIO has grown its geographical presence globally. Today, it features 6o national and international unions, giving it a membership base of 12 million.
The deal reached with the AFL-CIO is the latest American tech multinational to enter with labor unions to resolve worker concerns.
Microsoft Labor Neutrality Portrayed in Deal to Uphold Workers’ Unionization Rights
It mirrors the deal Microsoft signed in 2022 involving the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The deal sought to entrench labor neutrality and uphold workers’ unionization rights.
The Microsof-CWA deal allows the employees to leverage collective bargaining at Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft earmarked for acquisition.
In the 2022 deal, Microsoft had promised to uphold neutrality regarding union decisions. Similarly, the technology company outlined principles in a comprehensive framework to assist employees in organizing and meeting labor unions.
The Microsoft president observed that the unionization campaigns have recently expanded across the US territory. Such activity is experienced across the tech sector, prompting Microsoft to predict the campaigns would touch on more businesses.
Smith indicates that Microsoft is not an exemption from the trend. Such awareness encouraged Microsoft’s leadership to think proactively regarding the optimal approach for its shareholders, clients, and employees.
Microsoft’s move seeks to avert the negative publicity of the AI-induced global thermonuclear war threat. Such an outcome remains an illusion well exhibited in Hollywood blockbusters.
Engaging Workers in AI Development
The prevalence of generative AI has triggered concerns about AI decimating the workforce across several sectors. The threats feature in the agenda of talks held within the entertainment, freelancing, and fast food sectors.
In an August publication, IBM predicted that AI’s effect on the workplace would compel 1.4 billion retraining. The largest casualty comprises the entry-level workforce.
SpaceX and Tesla chief Elon Musk opined that AI can eradicate the need to engage the modern workforce.
Smith indicated that the challenges that AI poses in the future remain mysterious. Nonetheless, he admitted that an entity that listens to and engages its workforce would have a winning hand.
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