Robots Steal Jobs From Unions

Collective bargaining is a fundamental pillar of the European social model. In Italy, over the decades, unions have ensured wage increases commensurate with productivity growth and a gradual improvement in working conditions. Today, however, they are in decline: in 20 years, according to a Bocconi study, the unionization rate has been declining from 30 percent to about 12 percent. Fewer members means less bargaining power, hence less protection at a time in history when the challenges of technological development would, on the contrary, require greater worker protection in the face of shrinking employment in some sectors.

Conducted by a team of researchers from Bocconi University, led by Paolo Agnolin, Massimo Anelli, Italo Colantone and Piero Stanig, and funded by Fondazione Cariplo, the study explores the impact of new technologies on the European union landscape. By analyzing union membership data in 15 European countries over a 20-year period through 2018, the study offers valuable insight into the evolving role of unions in the digital age.


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