American Unions & Civil Society Call for Better Conditions for AI Workers

So, here’s the scoop: 24 American unions and groups are giving Senate leader Chuck Schumer a heads-up about the rough deal data workers are getting due to fancy new tech. They’re raising a ruckus because they reckon big tech companies aren’t playing ball when it comes to fixing this mess.

The Big Ask to Tech Titans

Eight US politicians wrote to nine top American tech companies back in September, poking at the poor working conditions of data workers. They’re not too happy with how these companies responded—or didn’t, really. They want Google, Meta, Amazon, and others to treat data workers better. These folks often get low pay, zero benefits, and feel like they’re under a microscope all the time. It’s a tough gig that messes with their heads.

The politicians, including big shots like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, made it clear that AI isn’t just a machine doing its own thing—it heavily depends on humans working behind the scenes.

Tech Silence & Worker Woes

Civil Society. So, here’s the kicker. Computer Weekly hit up these companies for a response, but only Scale AI got back, saying they’ve replied to Congress. The rest? Crickets. Even Jayapal, who led the charge in Congress, didn’t spill the beans on whether she’s satisfied with the tech firms’ answers. It’s like they’re keeping mum.

Demanding Better for Workers

Now, these unions and groups are nudging Schumer to think about how new tech is treating workers. They’re urging him to get cracking and make things better.

Their wishlist includes:

Fightin’ Surveillance: They want laws to stop creepy surveillance and unfair tech that bosses use to keep an eye on workers. Amazon’s allegedly playing the surveillance game hard, making life tough for their employees. It’s not just Amazon; Google and Walmart got called out for sneaky tactics too.

Pace of Work Problems: They’ve spotted a pattern where workers are pushed too hard, leading to lots of injuries. At Amazon, for instance, they’re tracking packages like clockwork, making sure stuff moves every 11 seconds. FedEx workers are wearing heavy scanners that mess up their arms.

AI Trouble: It’s not just about surveillance. People working in AI are also getting the short end of the stick. Some folks working on Amazon’s digital labor platform report getting paid peanuts without any benefits. Others say they’re working for free!

Tech Taking Over Jobs

They’re also talking about how tech is muscling in on jobs. Take the National Eating Disorder Association, for example. They swapped human workers for a chatbot, but it ended up giving bad advice to folks in need.

Time to Act Fast

This crew’s not sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They want Congress to get moving and set up rules that stop big companies from exploiting tech to squeeze workers for profit. They reckon it’s time to level the playing field and make sure everyone’s treated fair and square in this tech-driven world.

So, that’s the lowdown—a bunch of unions and groups saying, “Hey, tech companies, treat your workers right!” Now, let’s see if Schumer and Congress roll up their sleeves and make it happen.