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News Roundup: $1 Million Tacos

October 25, 2019 Updated: September 8, 2020

What’s Missing from Future of Work Conferences? The Workers

There are plenty of seats for billionaire investors, millionaire executives, consultants, and tech gurus at these industry summits. But few spots are given to the people whose jobs are directly impacted at automation. By excluding workers, these panels offer very little discussion about how technology can improve the millions of American workers feeling the effects. This leads to conversations that “center on technology rather than the people that will be affected by it.” For real solutions to be implemented, this is something that needs to change.

Automation Gets New Spotlight in 2020 Debate

Automation and its impact on American jobs has made an undeniable impact on the Democratic presidential primary. This was especially clear in the most recent televised debate. We are also seeing different approaches to automation in the policy plans released by the 2020 candidates. Some of the ideas proposed include a federal jobs guarantee, universal basic income, and increasing worker power relative to corporations.

This is a critical issue facing workers in today’s economy and it’s good to see automation getting the attention it deserves.

New Report: Grocery Profits Actually Hurt by Automation

A new study of more than 140 million scan-and-go transactions across 13 major retailers found that the technology actually increased product loss. For example, if a store did 10 percent of their sales through scan-and-go, product loss could go up an additional 1 percent. This comes at a time when retailers are already losing nearly $50 billion a year from theft and other factors.

This is one more reason for grocery chains to think twice about pouring all their money into technology that does very little to actually help customers, workers, or their bottom line.

Number of the Week: $1 Million

That’s how much Target is being sued for by a so-called ‘taco seasoning bandit.’ A 31-year-old Texas woman has been accused of scanning two packets of taco seasoning mix at a Target self-checkout instead of the codes on a $152.99 air purifier, $89.99 duvet, $189.99 vacuum cleaner, and more than a dozen other home goods.

On a second Target trip, a woman was seen on security footage using a different 49-cent spice packet to buy 19 products for $20.88. The woman charged has maintained that she is innocent and filed a $1 million federal lawsuit against Target to prove it. This spicy situation might have retailers thinking twice self-checkout and focusing more on investments in customer service and staffing.

Any upcoming stories about the impact of automation on the retail industry and the economy?

If you’re interested in speaking with UFCW, email awhite@www.ufcw.org for a quote, statistics, or interviews with workers in retail and other sectors of the economy.

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