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Robots will Terminate Half of Human Jobs by 2025

Don’t fret over killer Terminator robots wiping-out the human race. The immediate threat is that machines will terminate more and more humans from their jobs by 2025, and the numbers of displaced human workers will rise from then on.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Davos, Switzerland (4E) – Don’t fret over killer Terminator robots wiping-out the human race. The immediate threat is that machines will terminate more and more humans from their jobs by 2025, and the numbers of displaced human workers will rise from then on.

Such will be the price of the oncoming “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

More than half of all workplace tasks will be taken over by machines by 2025, according to data from a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. The “Future of Jobs 2018” warns about the speed with which the labor market will change in coming years due mainly to the “employment” or more robots and machines with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for brains.

The report, the second of its kind, is based on a survey of executives representing 15 million employees in 20 countries. WEF estimates that machines will account for for 52 percent of the division of labor as share of hours within seven years (or by 2025), up by some 80 percent from only 29 percent today. More disconcertingly, the report said that by 2022, 75 million jobs worldwide will be lost.

The report said nearly half of all companies expect their full-time workforces to decrease by 2022. Nearly two in five companies surveyed by the report expect to extend their workforce, while over one-quarter expect automation to create new roles in their businesses.

The flood of robot workers will mean training and re-training employees for new jobs in this new world of work. A bright spot in the report is that new technologies now under development will lead to the creation of 133 million new human jobs.

“By 2025, the majority of workplace tasks in existence today will be performed by machines or algorithms. At the same time a greater number of new jobs will be created,” said Saadia Zahidi, a WEF board member. “Our research suggests that neither businesses nor governments have fully grasped the size of this key challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

WEF said challenges for employers include enabling remote work; building safety nets to protect workers and providing reskilling for employees. But in a distressing finding, the report noted that only one in three respondents planned to re-skill at-risk workers.

WEF anticipates a “significant shift in the quality, location, format and permanency of new roles. Businesses are to expand use of contractors for task-specialized work, engage workers in more flexible arrangements, utilize remote staffing, and change up locations to get access to the right talent.”

“People, whether they’re workers or consumers, will only accept and tolerate the consequences if technology serves them — and not they it,” said Reiner Hoffmann in reaction to the WEF report.

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Labor

U.S. Steel Agrees to 14% Pay Hike for USW Workers

United States Steel (USS), the country’s second largest steel producer, and the United Steelworkers (USW) bargaining committee have reached a tentative deal that guarantees a 14% pay hike for union members until 2021, plus other benefits.

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Pennsylvania, PA, United States (4E) – United States Steel (USS), the country’s second largest steel producer, and the United Steelworkers (USW) bargaining committee have reached a tentative deal that guarantees a 14% pay hike for union members until 2021, plus other benefits.

“We have a tentative agreement with USS and unanimous recommendation from the bargaining committee,” said the USW in an update to members. “Thank you for support and solidarity.”

The four-year contract agreed upon includes a 4 percent raise the first year; 3.5 percent raises in 2019 and 2020, and a 3 percent raise in 2021 for a total increase of 14 percent in pay. There’s also a $4,000 signing bonus.

The proposed deal will also preserve existing healthcare benefits and incentives formulas. It will include a second healthcare option and there will be no premium increases for retirees.

Union representatives will explain the proposal in detail during meetings at union locals.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the USW we believe is fair and in the best long-term interests of our employees and their families, as well as U.S. Steel’s customers, stockholders and other stakeholders,” said USS President and CEO David Burritt.

“Together, we’ve agreed on terms that will create certainty and stability for our many stakeholders, enable our company to implement our long-term business strategy, which includes continued, responsible investments in our people and plants, and position U.S. Steel to remain a leader in the highly competitive global steel industry.”

Last month, USS workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike because of concerns about the company taking away healthcare and retiree benefits. These moves would have also burdened steelworkers with thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

The union and steelmaker returned to the bargaining table in Pittsburgh, and the two sides were finally able to hammer out an agreement months after negotiations started this summer.

“We are relieved that the company came to their senses,” said Michael Young, president of USW Local 6103, which represents steelworkers at the Midwest Plant in Portage. “I think this agreement is an agreement the members deserve and we are proud to bring it home to the membership for ratification.”

Negotiations between USW and ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker, continue. ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel account for nearly 25 percent of U.S. steel production.

Last month, 15,000 members of the USW at ArcelorMittal unanimously voted to authorize a nationwide strike at plants operated by the company if negotiations over new contracts flounder. ArcelorMittal also wants concessions from workers despite recently reporting its highest quarterly profit in seven years.

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Labor

Costco Says It Pays Employees Better than Amazon or Walmart

Costco Wholesale Corporation, the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart, says it pays its employees more than Amazon, Walmart or any of its competitors.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Issaquah, WA, United States (4E) – Costco Wholesale Corporation, the world’s second largest retailer after Walmart, says it pays its employees more than Amazon, Walmart or any of its competitors.

Costco CFO Richard Galanti affirms the pay and benefits offered by Costco still remain ahead of the competition, Amazon’s recent move to hike its employees pay to $15 per hour notwithstanding. He noted that Costco raised its minimum wage to $14 from $13 following a tax-cut bill signed by Donald Trump in late 2017. He also said Costco provides raises every year, unlike many other retailers.

“Even though our starting wage is $14 to $14.50, an employee who’s been here over a number of years can get up into the equivalent of the mid-$40s to the mid-$50s on an hourly basis over time, on top of great health benefits,” said Galanti.

He noted that Costco’s average U.S. hourly wage is some $22.50, “which we believe dwarfs any other retail or retail-type entity out there on a base scale.”

Independent sources show that as of September, the hourly pay at Costco ranges from $10.61 to $25.86 an hour. Costco employees with the job title Pharmacist make the most, being paid an average hourly rate of $60.64. On the other hand, employees with the title Retail Cashier make the least with an average hourly rate of $8.32.

Before it announced the pay hikelast week, Amazon starting pay varied by location. It ranged from $10 an hour at a warehouse in Austin, Texas to $13.50 an hour in Robbinsville, New Jersey. In 2017, the median Amazon employee earned just under $28,500, according to company filings. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earned $1.7 million for the year..

The long-overdue pay raise for Amazon employees, many of whom have to rely on food stamps because of their low hourly Amazon wages, will take effect Nov.1 this year. The new minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees (including part-time and temporary employees) and 100,000 seasonal employees. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.

Amazon and Bezos have faced intense criticism for the low hourly pay among Amazon employees. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last month introduced a bill called the “Stop Bezos Act” to tax corporations for every dollar their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.

In early September, Sanders attacked Amazon in a blistering tweet before filing the Stop Bezos Act that said: “Thousands of Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive. That is what a rigged economy looks like. Tomorrow we will introduce a bill to end subsidies for low-wage employers.”

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Ford Thinking of Firing 24,000 Employees in Major Company ‘Redesign’

Just in time for the holidays and in the midst of a booming economy, Ford Motor Company will announce massive job cuts as a result of falling demand triggered by Trump’s trade war.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Dearborn, MI, United States (4E) – Just in time for the holidays and in the midst of a booming economy, Ford Motor Company will announce massive job cuts as a result of falling demand triggered by Trump’s trade war.

Ford said it will “redesign” its employee numbers by firing an undisclosed number of employees from among its 70,000 strong white-collar workforce. This number will definitely cause the firing of thousands of employees, say analysts.

Investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley had even more terrifying numbers. It estimates up to 24,000 Ford employees might lose their jobs.

A recent Morgan Stanley report estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide.” If implemented, this will be the largest mass firing in the history of the American auto industry, said Morgan Stanley.

Ford might not suffer that much angst from firing a historic and unprecedented number of employees. Current Ford CEO Jim Hackett fired over 12,000 employees when he was boss of office furniture maker Steelcase.

Ford says this redesign (another euphemism for being fired) will create an organization that’s leaner, with fewer layers, and offer more decision-making power to employees. The announcement follows news that Trump’s trade war with China has already cost Ford over $1 billion in revenues since July when the war started.

“A lot of the (reorganization) is about making different choices about strategy,” said Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks. He said Ford’s goal isn’t only to slash spending but to improve the “fitness” of the company.

Ford has already warned that Donald Trump his auto tariffs have cost the company over $1 billion. Shanks said the company has also told Trump that his trade policies threaten to wreak havoc on Ford’s ongoing reorganization.

The ongoing $25.5 billion reorganization plan includes slashing $6 billion in improved capital efficiencies. Hackett was already expectd to announce the mass firings but has held off, according to some analysts.

Analysts say Ford needs to reorganize because it’s not doing that well in the markerplace.Ford has fallen behind the competition. It’s sold a depressing 32.8 vehicles per employee compared to GM’s 52.7 vehicles per employee.

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