US Secretary Calls for Union-Automation Truce


Thomas Perez, US Secretary of Labor has called for unions to work with ports throughout the shift to more automated processes, following a recent visit to the Port of Hamburg in which he observed the advanced operations at the port, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Read: US Secretary of Labor Visits Port of Hamburg

As the US develops its efforts to propel exports, Secretary Perez seems to be looking to learn from key smart ports overseas such as the Port of Hamburg that utilise technology to optimise volume handling. 

Perez said that Hamburg is: “…one of the most modern ports in the world. The whole issue of technology and automation is an important part of that discussion.”

Technical Paper: Analysing Automated Container Handling Methods

Paul Bingham, an Economist for Economic Development Research Group, said: “If automation means fewer workers are needed to move each container, but also makes it possible for more containers to move in and out of a port, that wouldn’t necessarily eliminate jobs.

“They may come out as a whole with higher-skilled job categories getting paid more money.”

Perez concluded: “There is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it, the way to make sure you do it right is to have meaningful dialog and a legitimate seat at the table for everyone.”

Read: Is the US West Coast Mega-Ship Ready?

That Secretary of Labor Perez is venturing to view ports that use high-tech automation is seemingly evidential of the US government opening up to automated practices.

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