LOS ANGELES, CA — The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) applauds the new partnership between the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO) and Microsoft Corp. IATSE is proudly part of the AFL-CIO and is therefore party to the agreement between Microsoft and the labor federation.
The partnership not only opens a dialogue to discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) must anticipate the needs of workers and include their voices in its development and implementation, but also offers a new neutrality framework that opens the door for Microsoft worker organizing at AFL-CIO affiliate unions. IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “This partnership is an encouraging avenue for continued, productive collaboration between unions, as well as with tech leaders to defend workers’ rights in this era of rapid technological change. We look forward to participating.”
Many of the new partnership’s objectives pertaining to AI echoed IATSE’s Core Principles for Addressing Implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technology, including continuous education for affected workers, joint policy and skill development, and direct feedback from labor leaders and workers. IATSE General Secretary-Treasurer James B. Wood and IATSE Political and Legislative Director Tyler McIntosh were present for the announcement of the partnership at the AFL-CIO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Animation Guild and IATSE Organizer Ben Speight noted the AFL-CIO’s neutrality framework means IATSE can and will continue to organize entertainment workers across the United States and Canada, “Microsoft and its subsidiaries are increasingly producers of entertainment, and we believe all entertainment workers deserve the opportunity to democratically elect their union representatives in free and fair elections, regardless of the medium they work in.”
Microsoft entertainment workers interested in joining together with the backing of IATSE, the Union Behind Entertainment, can contact an organizer within minutes via iatse.net/join or gameworkers.org.