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Season 5, Episode 67

Union newsrooms seeking worker protections against AI takeover



Guest Name:

Jon Schleuss

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President of The NewsGuild - Communication Workers of America (TNG-CWA), Jon Schleuss, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the recent joint union letter to ensure workers are protected from employers attempting to replace them with artificial intelligence. Schleuss also talked about the main issues with AI in the newsroom and how journalists are being negatively affected by the implementation of AI written articles.

Several newsrooms have been fighting for worker rights over the past two years, and 2024 has seen 26 strikes for The NewsGuild Locals. Schleuss talked about two different Locals who went on strike at the Long Beach Post and at the San Antonio Report. Both Locals went on strike shortly after successful organizing efforts as employees faced retaliation from their employers, Schleuss said. He then gave an update on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, where employees are still on strike after almost 18 months.

Schleuss, the Newsguild-CWA, the Writers Guild of America East, Writers Guild of America West and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, recently co-authored a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. This letter discussed a desire to provide workforce protection against artificial intelligence. Schleuss talked about several employers who are using artificial intelligence to try and replace journalists with AI-developed stories. He said that AI should be used as a tool for journalists to simplify their tasks, but can not replace journalists in the newsroom.

One of the top issues with the way AI is currently being used comes from the way these AI programs are trained, according to Schleuss. AI is trained to use articles available online, it then combines similar topics and produces an article utilizing parts of those articles without providing attribution to journalists. Not only would journalists not receive proper attribution, but they also wouldn’t be compensated for their work. Schleuss talked about the desire to protect journalists from the blatant examples of plagiarism with the help of the U.S. Government.

Learn more about the letter and AI in newsrooms by listening to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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