Amazon workers to vote union in Alabama.

Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
10,926
1,319
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Cue the bots? How soon will Amazon start to fully automate their warehouses when everyone of their employees is a union member? I'm not siding with Amazon. Jeff Besoz is a ruthless businessman who can be unethical at times. They just paid $67m in fines because they got caught withholding drivers tips. How low can you get that you need to withhold driver's tips? Anyway, I hope it works out for everyone at Amazon. I just fear that this will drive up automation. Not just at Amazon, but at every big tec company with the fear that they too might have to pay union workers. That could be Walmart, Google, Facebook, etc.

 
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brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
22,232
15,407
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Cue the bots? How soon will Amazon start to fully automate their warehouses when everyone of their employees is a union member? I'm not siding with Amazon. Jeff Besoz is a ruthless businessman who can be unethical at times. They just paid $67m in fines because they got caught withholding drivers tips. How low can you get that you need to withhold driver's tips? Anyway, I hope it works out for everyone at Amazon. I just fear that this will drive up automation. Not just at Amazon, but at every big tec company with the fear that they too might have to pay union workers. That could be Walmart, Google, Facebook, etc.

UBI, UBI
 

Leymenaide

Senior member
Feb 16, 2010
737
358
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When UBI was proposed by a Republican President it was called a negative income tax. Todays communist was yesterdays Nixonian Republican. Who would have thunk it?
 
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Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
18,469
3,345
126
Cue the bots? How soon will Amazon start to fully automate their warehouses when everyone of their employees is a union member? I'm not siding with Amazon. Jeff Besoz is a ruthless businessman who can be unethical at times. They just paid $67m in fines because they got caught withholding drivers tips. How low can you get that you need to withhold driver's tips? Anyway, I hope it works out for everyone at Amazon. I just fear that this will drive up automation. Not just at Amazon, but at every big tec company with the fear that they too might have to pay union workers. That could be Walmart, Google, Facebook, etc.

It's simple economics. When the cost of labor exceeds the cost of automation it's a done deal. In my business I sometimes have to dig large holes in the ground, I could pay my crew to do it, or use an excavator to complete the task at one third the cost.
It's interesting that we accept existing automation but reject new automation. No one thinks about how many laborers were put out of work by the use of excavators, or how many farm workers were replaced by tractors. Even power tools we all have and use put people out of work at some point along the way.
I'm honestly not sure if it's a good thing or not, but it's inevitable.
 
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Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
29,306
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It's simple economics. When the cost of labor exceeds the cost of automation it's a done deal. In my business I sometimes have to dig large holes in the ground, I could pay my crew to do it, or use an excavator to complete the task at one third the cost.
It's interesting that we accept existing automation but reject new automation. No one thinks about how many laborers were put out of work by the use of excavators, or how many farm workers were replaced by tractors. Even power tools we all have and use put people out of work at some point along the way.
I'm honestly not sure if it's a good thing or not, but it's inevitable.
Actually people do think about it. They're just not the CxOs of massive corporations whose intent is to maximize profit and fuck over their employees as hard as possible.

If you ask me, any automation or reduction in workforce should be accompanied by skills training and/or assistance with future employment.
 
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Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
18,469
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Actually people do think about it. They're just not the CxOs of massive corporations whose intent is to maximize profit and fuck over their employees as hard as possible.

If you ask me, any automation or reduction in workforce should be accompanied by skills training and/or assistance with future employment.
That seems reasonable. Where do you draw the line? I buy a lot of tools that make the job faster and safer, those tools mean there are less hours to be worked. Breaking concrete is a great example, an electric jack hammer reduces the time required by as much as 80%, should I have to provide retraining because I purchased a jackhammer? What if the time saved equates to increased compensation for my crew?
My point here is that it's often not going to be cut and dried. Every tool reduces labor costs, some tools replace people. At what point do we decide that the reduction is harmful?
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
29,306
5,496
126
That seems reasonable. Where do you draw the line? I buy a lot of tools that make the job faster and safer, those tools mean there are less hours to be worked. Breaking concrete is a great example, an electric jack hammer reduces the time required by as much as 80%, should I have to provide retraining because I purchased a jackhammer? What if the time saved equates to increased compensation for my crew?
My point here is that it's often not going to be cut and dried. Every tool reduces labor costs, some tools replace people. At what point do we decide that the reduction is harmful?
This isn't rocket science. Are you laying people off? Yes or no? If yes, help displaced workers.
 
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Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
10,926
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Actually people do think about it. They're just not the CxOs of massive corporations whose intent is to maximize profit and fuck over their employees as hard as possible.

If you ask me, any automation or reduction in workforce should be accompanied by skills training and/or assistance with future employment.
Agreed. The huge problem that we are facing is we have a large population of workers who have low skillset. They can pickup and pack boxes, but those things can now be done via automation. I think it's going to be worse in the near future. Especially when so many people are currently on unemployment and are waiting on more stimulus checks. I'm not saying that we need to stop supporting people, but it creates the entitlement mentality that we are now facing. We can blame the schools, bad parenting, or our lazy culture. I agree that training is key though. The problem is will Americans adapt to this changing trend in automation in the workforce, or will they complain and whine that life is unfair. I'm going with the latter for now.
 
Nov 8, 2012
20,778
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Unions were made originally for skilled labor once upon a time.

Amazon, retail stores, etc... are as unskilled as it gets. Qualifications are:
1. Do you have legs and can walk?
2. Do you have hands and can use them?
3. Can you pick things up and place them in different locations?
4. Can you speak the common language?

Since it's literally unskilled labor, you don't have the advantage of a low-supply of workers to make demands. Goodluck to them though,
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
18,469
3,345
126
This isn't rocket science. Are you laying people off? Yes or no? If yes, help displaced workers.
Simplistic view.
It will rarely be that clean cut in the real world. You're talking about a labor law that requires retraining if an employee is laid off because of automation. Within what time frame? How many employees have to be affected? What if the employer see's a reduction in demand a year after automation and lay's off employees instead of shutting down machines? Every imaginable scenario will be played out, and a whole bunch of them will end up in court.
I'm not a fan of "make the law then see what happens". Far better to think about it before hand rather than trying to clean up the mess afterword.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
75,619
29,727
136
Simplistic view.
It will rarely be that clean cut in the real world. You're talking about a labor law that requires retraining if an employee is laid off because of automation. Within what time frame? How many employees have to be affected? What if the employer see's a reduction in demand a year after automation and lay's off employees instead of shutting down machines? Every imaginable scenario will be played out, and a whole bunch of them will end up in court.
I'm not a fan of "make the law then see what happens". Far better to think about it before hand rather than trying to clean up the mess afterword.
I think the better answer is for the government to have a robust social safety net - that way there is never a time when people would have an incentive to not maximize the efficiency of their business.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
31,004
4,482
126
I just fear that this will drive up automation.
Automation drives itself. Capitalism strives for efficiency, and right now that is slave labor overseas. Tomorrow that is assuredly a robot.

No need to fear it. But there is a need to demand a proper safety net / economic structure that can adapt and evolve with to support Capitalism.
 

Stokely

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,142
1,160
136
Automation will claim many jobs in the years ahead, 3D printing may as well.

We'd better get over the whole "you aren't worth anything if you don't spend your life working" mentality because there won't be near enough jobs to go around. Unless of course we don't devolve into a mad max dystopia due to climate change or another random reason first. That'll solve the automation problem! Soylent green solves a couple as well provided we are ok with human-flavored snacks.
 

nickqt

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2015
7,094
6,370
136
Automation will take over as soon as it becomes reasonably close in terms of price. Massive employers will pay slightly more if they don't have to worry about their employees being human and having human things to do, like taking care of family, or taking a break.

So the whole "well if they Unionize robots will take over their job" schtick is just concern trolling, because the fucking robots are coming as soon as they're feasible anyway, regardless of whether the serfs Unionize for a few extra dollars per hour in the meantime.

Society is collapsing and the people at the top who could do something about it won't, because it will cost them short-term. Vote for the politicians who actually care and want to prevent the collapse.

Or not, and if you have a robot-proof job, just sit back and watch the shitshow or whatever.

YOLO
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
14,323
11,212
136
Automation will take over as soon as it becomes reasonably close in terms of price. Massive employers will pay slightly more if they don't have to worry about their employees being human and having human things to do, like taking care of family, or taking a break.

So the whole "well if they Unionize robots will take over their job" schtick is just concern trolling, because the fucking robots are coming as soon as they're feasible anyway, regardless of whether the serfs Unionize for a few extra dollars per hour in the meantime.

Society is collapsing and the people at the top who could do something about it won't, because it will cost them short-term. Vote for the politicians who actually care and want to prevent the collapse.

Or not, and if you have a robot-proof job, just sit back and watch the shitshow or whatever.

YOLO
Exactly this. Automation is coming no matter what. If a few folks can enjoy life a bit more for a few years until that happens by unionizing, good for them. It won't change a damn thing. No big company is adjusting the race to automation for any reason, except if the Confederates bring back slavery again. Which, I would wager, a chunk wouldn't mind if that happened. Except they would expand it to not just enslaving blacks, but latinos and any of them gawdamned librul marxists of any race.
 

nickqt

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2015
7,094
6,370
136
Exactly this. Automation is coming no matter what. If a few folks can enjoy life a bit more for a few years until that happens by unionizing, good for them. It won't change a damn thing. No big company is adjusting the race to automation for any reason, except if the Confederates bring back slavery again. Which, I would wager, a chunk wouldn't mind if that happened. Except they would expand it to not just enslaving blacks, but latinos and any of them gawdamned librul marxists of any race.
I mean, the term "wage slave" exists for a reason. Sure, I'm "free" to work for whomever I want, but typically once I'm employed, my entire life is determined by whether my "boss" provides me with a living wage, benefits so that I can get medical treatment if I'm dying, etc.

You can tell Republicans are fucking lying through their fucking teeth when they bitch and moan about "socialized healthcare" and at the same time tell people they should pick themselves up by their bootstraps, and if they want to really be successful, "just go be an entrepreneur or whatever and put Walmart and Amazon out of business because FreeMarket™".

Well, by "freeing" people from needing to be employed by a large enough employer who provides enough FTE hours to get healthcare, with "socialized healthcare", people would have a lot more freedom to work where they want, for whom they want, including themselves, because they wouldn't be beholden to Hobby Lobby line-item vetoing which health benefits they can claim at their doctor's office.

But, of course, that's the rub, Republicans want the serfs to be beholden to business, because it's business who drowns them with cash so they can keep power.

What we're witnessing right now, is the collapse of our society. It doesn't happen overnight, like in movies, it happens over decades.

This whole shitshow is going, as we speak. We need real, actual solutions to stop the catabolic collapse before it reaches a point of no return, but the Senate as an institution, and the Republican Party, as a group of individuals, are doing everything in their power to allow the collapse to continue, because their benefactors think they'll be just fine on their private, walled, guarded estates. Not to mention the hilarious clown billionaires literally building rockets so they can live on their own fucking planet.

This is collapse. Just look around and stop listening to the shitbirds on TV talking about the meteoric rise of the stock market.
 

DaaQ

Senior member
Dec 8, 2018
765
477
106
That seems reasonable. Where do you draw the line? I buy a lot of tools that make the job faster and safer, those tools mean there are less hours to be worked. Breaking concrete is a great example, an electric jack hammer reduces the time required by as much as 80%, should I have to provide retraining because I purchased a jackhammer? What if the time saved equates to increased compensation for my crew?
My point here is that it's often not going to be cut and dried. Every tool reduces labor costs, some tools replace people. At what point do we decide that the reduction is harmful?
Curiously, how "large" is your business? My guess is that you fall under the umbrella of "small business"
Which of course will NOT have the same regulations or rules or "laws" as those being "spoke" of as corporations.

Agreed. The huge problem that we are facing is we have a large population of workers who have low skillset. They can pickup and pack boxes, but those things can now be done via automation. I think it's going to be worse in the near future. Especially when so many people are currently on unemployment and are waiting on more stimulus checks. I'm not saying that we need to stop supporting people, but it creates the entitlement mentality that we are now facing. We can blame the schools, bad parenting, or our lazy culture. I agree that training is key though. The problem is will Americans adapt to this changing trend in automation in the workforce, or will they complain and whine that life is unfair. I'm going with the latter for now.
Do you realize that the US Auto Industries have dealt with this already? The Union workforces HAVE adapted AND changed accordingly. Yet are not given ANY recognition of this FACT
Efficiency is through the roof.

Simplistic view.
It will rarely be that clean cut in the real world. You're talking about a labor law that requires retraining if an employee is laid off because of automation. Within what time frame? How many employees have to be affected? What if the employer see's a reduction in demand a year after automation and lay's off employees instead of shutting down machines? Every imaginable scenario will be played out, and a whole bunch of them will end up in court.
I'm not a fan of "make the law then see what happens". Far better to think about it before hand rather than trying to clean up the mess afterword.
See above, I am sure there are provisions between LARGE scale corporations and SMALL business.

Exactly this. Automation is coming no matter what. If a few folks can enjoy life a bit more for a few years until that happens by unionizing, good for them. It won't change a damn thing. No big company is adjusting the race to automation for any reason, except if the Confederates bring back slavery again. Which, I would wager, a chunk wouldn't mind if that happened. Except they would expand it to not just enslaving blacks, but latinos and any of them gawdamned librul marxists of any race.
I will again say automation IS HERE, visit any automotive manufacturing facility.
There will ALWAYS need to be people to maintain the automation as well.

Unionizing isn't against automation, Henry Ford freaking invented the automation line for Christ sake.
You folks seem to think Unionizing is something that it really isn't.
 
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NWRMidnight

Platinum Member
Jun 18, 2001
2,049
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Automation isn't cheaper than labor. The upkeep and over head costs are much higher than labor costs. The only reason automation is viable is that it's faster and increase their output volume, which makes up for the increased costs of automation. Automation also has devastating downsides. When a piece of that automation breaks down, causing production to halt that can last, hours, days, or even weeks depending on the problem, and sometimes, when that automation fails, it causes massive amounts of damage. Majority of the time, you don't have any option that allows you to substitute that automation with another piece of automation to keep production flowing. With labor, you have a employee call out, you have options to cover that absence with another employee, so production can continue.

It's all bean counting in the end. The bean counters see that they can take a hit in profits per unity with automation vs human labor, but because they can sell 2 to 1, they make a higher profit off those 2 combined than that 1 by itself. There is nothing that will prevent this from automation from taking over. But instead of using it as a profit motivator, it needs to be embraced as the solution to longer and better quality of life.
 
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Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
29,306
5,496
126
Automation isn't cheaper than labor. The upkeep and over head costs are much higher than labor costs. The only reason automation is viable is that it's faster and increase their output volume, which makes up for the increased costs of automation. Automation also has devastating downsides. When a piece of that automation breaks down, causing production to halt that can last, hours, days, or even weeks depending on the problem, and sometimes, when that automation fails, it causes massive amounts of damage. Majority of the time, you don't have any option that allows you to substitute that automation with another piece of automation to keep production flowing. With labor, you have a employee call out, you have options to cover that absence with another employee, so production can continue.
so the costs of downtime are offset by the increased production and sales....therefore, it's cheaper.
 

NWRMidnight

Platinum Member
Jun 18, 2001
2,049
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so the costs of downtime are offset by the increased production and sales....therefore, it's cheaper.
No. It's not cheaper. It allows you to earn more profits thru volume, which has nothing to do with the cost to produce that product. Volume and profits do not represent production costs to produce a product. That's like trying to say it cost you less to produce hamburgers because you have two grills instead of one grill because you earn a higher profit from producing more. your productions costs don't go down just because you can produce more. If you can keep up with customer demand without automation, and you put automation, but don't have the customers to buy your product, you will lose money with automation vs human labor.
 
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Nov 8, 2012
20,778
4,758
136
Automation isn't cheaper than labor. The upkeep and over head costs are much higher than labor costs. The only reason automation is viable is that it's faster and increase their output volume, which makes up for the increased costs of automation. Automation also has devastating downsides. When a piece of that automation breaks down, causing production to halt that can last, hours, days, or even weeks depending on the problem, and sometimes, when that automation fails, it causes massive amounts of damage. Majority of the time, you don't have any option that allows you to substitute that automation with another piece of automation to keep production flowing. With labor, you have a employee call out, you have options to cover that absence with another employee, so production can continue.

It's all bean counting in the end. The bean counters see that they can take a hit in profits per unity with automation vs human labor, but because they can sell 2 to 1, they make a higher profit off those 2 combined than that 1 by itself. There is nothing that will prevent this from automation from taking over. But instead of using it as a profit motivator, it needs to be embraced as the solution to longer and better quality of life.
wut?

You basically just said - No automation is more expensive, but because it can run 24/7 - and if I paid someone to work 3 8-hour shifts it would cost more over time.

Were saying the same thing.

Automation is NO question cheaper. Even with high costs upfront (and as the first companies invest it will then drive down the price of the automation for the next groups to invest). It's a flat-based cost that can be mostly calculated - whereas humans are a variable, generally unreliable, in addition to just being inefficient. They have no problem calculating things to understand the concept of paying $5m upfront to have a return on investment in 2 years.
 

NWRMidnight

Platinum Member
Jun 18, 2001
2,049
1,619
136
wut?

You basically just said - No automation is more expensive, but because it can run 24/7 - and if I paid someone to work 3 8-hour shifts it would cost more over time.

Were saying the same thing.

Automation is NO question cheaper. Even with high costs upfront (and as the first companies invest it will then drive down the price of the automation for the next groups to invest). It's a flat-based cost that can be mostly calculated - whereas humans are a variable, generally unreliable, in addition to just being inefficient. They have no problem calculating things to understand the concept of paying $5m upfront to have a return on investment in 2 years.
I never said automation is cheaper. not even close.
Obviously you don't work where there is much automation. Automation has a huge upfront cost, and a huge upkeep cost, and it breaks down more often than those unreliable humans. It is not cheaper, it cost more to produce a product with automation than it does with labor, you are just able to make up that cost with volume.
 

NWRMidnight

Platinum Member
Jun 18, 2001
2,049
1,619
136
Can I ask, what do you think this statement means?
Maybe if you read what I was replying to you will understand.. I was responding to Fenixgoon who said automation is cheaper.. My response that you don't seem to grasp: "No it's not cheaper".

Your statement "no automation is more expensive" maybe you don't understand what you said. . "NO automation" means there is no automation, and you said it's more expensive, or rather that's what you said I said, which I didn't. if that isn't what you meant, maybe you should work on your wording and punctuation.

If a product cost $100 to make with automation, and cost $90 to make with human labor, how is automation cheaper to produce that product?
 
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