National Restaurant Association president and CEO Dawn Sweeney and Vice President of Public Policy Shannon Meade will each hold leadership roles in a rapidly-growing coalition working to address the dramatic impacts that Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies will have on the workforce and workplace.  

The Emma Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, seeks to organize a nationwide effort and partnership among small and large American businesses and the organizations that represent them; representatives of organized labor; and nonprofit, research and academic institutions to prepare the workforce for the coming technology-induced disruption of employees (TIDE) through education, training and engagement with policymakers.

As a founder and leader, the National Restaurant Association will work to anticipate and address ways to maximize social and economic benefits while minimizing disruption for employers and employees. The coalition will engage with policymakers on the importance of confronting TIDE and with employers to create training programs and best practices to help workers adapt and compete in the years ahead.

Dawn Sweeney will serve on the group’s board of directors along with Michael Lotito and James Paretti, shareholders with Littler Mendelson, P.C., the nation’s largest employment and labor law practice; Charles Merin, Executive Vice President of Prime Policy Group; and, Tom Green, Founder and Publisher of Asian Robotics Review. Shannon Meade will serve as Executive Director.

“As the second largest private sector employer in the nation, representing more than 15.1 million employees, the restaurant industry is at the epicenter of this dramatic transformation. The Association is taking on this leadership role as we have an obligation to our entire industry to be out front on this issue,” says Meade. “The National Restaurant Association has long been a leader in training, career development and forward-looking policymaking that benefits employers, employees and consumers. Our support for, and involvement with, the Emma Coalition is a logical extension of this work.”

“Government, industry and policymakers all have an opportunity to examine TIDE issues today, and forge consensus around policies that can help us prepare in advance for the technology and workforce of the future. Through the Emma Coalition, we are excited to help lead this conversation and to advocate for ways that today’s workers and employers can evolve and adapt together as more technology enters the market,” she adds.

The Emma Coalition has already unveiled early work to raise awareness and build support for greater government, worker and industry association on TIDE and related issues. At Littler’s annual Employer Conference in Phoenix, the coalition unveiled a report, Automation & Artificial Intelligence: TIDE at the Tipping Point. It documents the pace of technology change and disruption as well as activities that policymakers can take to address TIDE at local, state and federal levels. The report emphasizes that the focus from all parties remain positive, because this type of disruption often leads to positive effects on the labor market, economic growth, reduced prices and increased demand.

Industry News, Technology