Microsoft has agreed to union contract terms with the Communications Workers of America governing its use of AI.
The tentative agreement covers several hundred employees at Microsoft’s game studio, ZeniMax. The contract language incorporates Microsoft’s six AI principles, which ensure that systems treat people fairly and empower everyone.
The agreement requires Microsoft to inform the union of any AI implementation that could affect union members’ jobs, and to negotiate the impact on employees.
“The goal is to ensure tools and technologies benefit rather than harm workers,” the contract states.
CWA President Claude Cummings Jr. believes the agreement gives Microsoft a recruiting advantage and hopes it will inspire more workers to unionize and other companies to follow Microsoft’s lead.
“Microsoft is bound to follow through,” Cummings said. There has been no official word from Microsoft on the contract.
Microsoft partners with AFL-CIO
Microsoft has also partnered with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to create an open dialogue about the impact of AI on workers.
The alliance between the software giant and the federation, which represents 60 unions and 12.5 million workers, aims to share in-depth information about AI technology trends.
The goal is to incorporate worker perspectives into AI development and help shape public policy that supports the technology skills and needs of frontline workers.
This collaboration is a “groundbreaking” and “historic” alliance, according to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “This partnership reflects a recognition of the critical role workers play in the development, deployment, and regulation of AI and related technologies.”