Teamsters Union Tells Waymo It’s a No Go on Autonomous Vehicles
NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In response to news that the Google autonomous vehicle (AV) subsidiary Waymo is looking to expand its operations into New York in the near future, Teamsters throughout the state are demanding that legislators keep unsafe robotaxis off public streets.
“Teamsters are not against technology if it’s done right, but driverless vehicles are a direct threat to public safety,” said Thomas Gesualdi, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16. “From the near daily news of driverless vehicles interfering with first responders, to an AV running over and dragging a woman more than 20 feet, lawmakers should be discussing how to responsibly regulate these companies, not making New York roads the test grounds and our citizens guinea pigs for Big Tech.”
Across the country, robotaxis have blocked traffic, interfered with emergency personnel, and injured pedestrians. Moreover, safety problems with Waymo AVs have been well documented, including one vehicle that ran over and killed a dog in San Francisco this summer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2021 Waymo had the most automated driving system crashes of any self-driving vehicle company. Safety problems haven’t stopped the company from ramping up its political spending: the company recently hired a firm to lobby the Hochul administration and the City of New York, and it’s spent nearly $2 million on lobbying in California.
“Workers are a key stakeholder in any discussion around artificial intelligence and need to be included in any debate on policies that impact public safety and jobs,” said George Harrigan, President of Teamsters Joint Council 46. “We’re pleased that the Hochul administration isn’t changing regulations or taking other actions that prioritize Big Tech over her constituents — unlike some other governors — and we’re encouraged that the reckless, anti-worker AV bills S1012 and A539 haven’t moved in the state legislature. We urge lawmakers to stand with New York and not Silicon Valley by killing these bills and any similar legislation that doesn’t include collaboration with workers.”
“Technology can either contribute to assisting a productive human workforce or be a job killer for hundreds, thousands, and perhaps millions of middle-class New Yorkers,” said Thomas Quackenbush, President of Teamsters Joint Council 18. “Lawmakers must consider these impacts when making big decisions on possible legislation. Waymo claims that new job opportunities could emerge for workers who might get displaced in the future. I challenge Google, or any other entity investing in AV, to produce a detailed plan on how it will preserve union jobs that could be devastated by automation, while protecting pensions, employer-funded health care, and competitive wages for workers.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.3 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org to learn more. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.
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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters