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CWA Statement in Response to President Biden’s Executive Order on AI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Biden issued an executive order to manage the risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and require research on AI’s impact on the labor market.

CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. issued the following statement:

CWA members across industries, including journalism, customer service, tech, higher education, healthcare, and others, have already experienced the destabilizing effects of AI in the workplace. While some applications have enabled workers to focus on the more creative aspects of their jobs, other members have experienced the stressful and dehumanizing impacts of poorly designed AI systems. Other harmful applications of AI have introduced algorithmic discrimination, surveillance, and management, leaving workers, particularly those without the safeguard of a union contract, with very little recourse if they are unjustly fired or disciplined.

Leadership on AI begins with listening to people directly impacted by novel technologies in the workplace, so that AI contributes to improved services and shared prosperity. That’s why CWA’s Executive Board has established a Committee on Artificial Intelligence. This group of members from across our union is meeting weekly to study the impact of AI technology in our workplaces and draft principles and recommendations on how to address the challenges that AI presents through both bargaining strategy and public policy.

President Biden’s executive order on AI recognizes the risks to workers, and directs the development of principles and best practices to mitigate the harm and maximize the benefits of AI for workers. Working people have already begun this process, and their voices must be heard. American workers, from call centers to newsrooms to technology companies, are already our most valuable experts on AI’s labor-market impacts.

I am deeply encouraged to see President Biden’s recognition that collective bargaining is an essential safeguard in managing the changes and challenges that AI will bring to America’s jobs and workplaces. Collective bargaining and a union contract give workers a voice in how AI is implemented within their jobs. When we address challenges together, guided by the voices of America’s workers, we can promote American innovation that builds on workers’ expertise and protects rights and dignity in the workplace.


About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields. @cwaunion

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