Greg Jones: Will Robots Kill Labor Unions?

Automation needn't be scary for workers, but for traditional unions, the robot future may hold a different fate.


The wholesale replacement of large portions of America's workforce with robotic machinery is creating Chicken Little-like headlines. "As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up," declares The New York Times. "What Jobs Will the Robots Take?" asks The Atlantic. Of course, no one knows exactly how automation will shake up the worker economy, but there will almost certainly be winners and losers

For labor unions, that may very well mean that the bell tolls for thee, Greg Jones argues. Robots will reign first where unions tend to be strongest: manufacturing, shipping, and the service industries, and possibly even education. While unions have generally been in decline for some time, automation may prove to be the proverbial dagger through the heart.