Oregon AFL-CIO Files Ballot Initiative to Reduce Self-Checkout at Grocery Stores 

PORTLAND, ORE. – Today the Oregon AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations) filed a ballot initiative with the goal of regulating the reduction of jobs in grocery stores by limiting the amount of self-checkout stations in Oregon’s grocery stores. 

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explained why Oregon’s unions are taking action against self-checkout machines:

“The goal of our initiative is to protect grocery workers and our communities. Self-checkout machines are part of a strategic corporate attempt to reduce costs and eliminate jobs. These machines turn customers into unpaid workers and allow stores to reduce the number of full-time employees[i].  This significantly impacts workers of color negatively, who are disproportionately overrepresented as cashiers in retail businesses[ii].  Meanwhile, the push towards expanded automation at grocery stores places older customers[iii] and people with disabilities[iv] at a disadvantage when they are expected to use machines to purchase groceries.” 

The Oregon AFL-CIO represents hundreds of affiliated local unions across the state, and fights for the rights of all working people in Oregon.  The statewide federation of unions will gather the necessary signatures to ensure the Grocery Store Service and Community Protection Act is placed onto the 2020 ballot, giving voters the option to weigh in on an issue that impacts the millions of Oregonians who purchase groceries. 

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[i] https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018

[ii] https://www.demos.org/research/retail-race-divide-how-retail-industry-perpetuating-racial-inequality-21st-century

[iii] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/243459632_Shopper_age_and_the_use_of_self-service_technologies

[iv] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/295192617_Self-Service_Terminals_for_Older_and_Disabled_Users_Attitudes_of_Key_Stakeholders