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Workers Deserve a Say in Automation

Sherrod Brown & Liz Shuler
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When the global economy shifted in the late 19th century, working people were the first to adapt. They moved to cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, Ohio, and worked long hours in unsafe factories. They drove the Industrial Revolution and changed the nature of work forever. When it became clear that employers were exploiting their productivity, the labor movement formed to protest abuses like sweatshops, child labor, and poverty wages.

Every day, new technology and workplace innovation is changing how we live, work, and relate to each other. The potential benefits are undeniable—higher productivity, an increased standard of living, and a cleaner, healthier world. Too often, though, when companies decide to adopt new technology, workers are left out of the conversation.

Major industries always evolve—from transportation and health care and education. The question isn’t whether we can prevent industries from changing; it’s whether we as a country are going to make sure workers shape the future with them. We need to ensure working people have a seat at the table.

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