Microsoft and AFL-CIO Forge Partnership to Shape AI's Role in Workforce

Microsoft Corp. and the AFL-CIO announced a partnership on Monday, aiming to influence the future of artificial intelligence in the workforce.

The collaboration seeks to create a respectful framework for employee union rights, enhance labor-management relations, and develop collective bargaining agreements amidst the tech industry's swift expansion of generative AI.

Microsoft underscored the importance of worker involvement in the transition to an AI-augmented future. "Centralizing workers' voices ensures their needs are acknowledged in this labor-tech partnership," the company stated.

The initiative unites labor groups and tech firms to concentrate on AI policy and workforce development. Microsoft outlined three objectives: disseminating AI knowledge among labor leaders and workers, integrating worker input into AI technology development, and influencing public policy to support the technological competencies and requirements of front-line staff.

To realize the first objective, Microsoft plans to provide formal learning opportunities and current AI technology education, starting in winter 2024 with guidance from Microsoft AI specialists. In collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers, the company aims to create an applicable AI curriculum for future market entrants and will conduct AI workshops until 2026.

Furthermore, a sequence of labor summits will be orchestrated with prominent tech and labor decision-makers to craft worker-focused technology.

Microsoft President Brad Smith commented, "Collaborating with labor leaders guarantees that AI will benefit the nation's workforce. This pioneering partnership recognizes worker rights, incorporates insights from labor authorities during tech development, and equips individuals with vital skills for the impending AI era."

Lastly, Microsoft and the AFL-CIO plan to jointly champion policies that enhance worker capabilities in an AI-centric economy and will concentrate on establishing AI education for sectors most affected by AI advancements.

This initiative continues Microsoft's earlier involvement with labor organizations, including the neutrality pact with the Communications Workers of America regarding video game employees at Activision and Zenimax.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.