The Santa Fe Reporter newspaper conducted a Q&A with Beth Gutelius, associate director of the Center for Urban Economic Development and senior researcher at the Great Cities Institute at UIC, about her recent co-authored report that examines technology’s impact on the current and future warehouse industry and workforce.
The Oct. 21 installment of the New York Times‘ “Op-Eds From the Future” series envisions Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiling to the media an alleged state-of-the-art, human-free robot-run fulfillment center in Phoenix, circa 2034. Except it still needs people, and relies on independent contractors that don’t receive benefits.
That piece was plausible fiction. The actual impact of technology on warehouse workers remains to be seen.
An extensive Oct. 22 academic report on the future of warehouse work examines the issue. Santa Fe resident Beth Gutelius, an associate director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, co-authored the report and spoke with SFR about her findings. The interview has been edited for space and clarity. The full report can be read online at: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2019/Future-of-Warehouse-Work.pdf