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We Can Work It Out

We Can Work It Out

What do Americans think about labor unions? In September 2023, our Insights team asked our community of engaged voters, TrendSpotters, about recent labor union activity and strikes. This audience included additional engaged Gen Zers to understand younger Americans’ perspectives.

First and foremost, the labor resurgence is not going away. Engaged Americans are primed to support a variety of causes related to protecting workers across sectors—from traditional manufacturing and service sectors to graduate students and creators.    

Beyond the present, disputes are triggering concerns about the future. Concerns over CEO pay and wage disparities cut across party lines. Engaged Americans are aware that advancements like automation and AI have the potential to restructure our economy and want to ensure workers are protected.

Honing in, Gen Z sides with unions over companies no matter the fight. Beyond pay, working conditions and retirement benefits, younger generations are much more likely to focus on better hours and pay transparency as well. 

Finally, compromise is key. Companies need to indicate they “get it”—showing up at the table and demonstrating a willingness to listen. But unions are also advised to choose their battles carefully, with warning that support quickly wanes if the public begins to see demands as unreasonable. 

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By the Numbers

When the Regulators Come Knocking

FGS Global recently moderated a panel discussion at ALM’s General Counsel Conference East on how to prepare for and manage regulatory scrutiny. Some key takeaways from the panel, which featured regulators and in-house counsel, included:

  • Be prepared to move quickly: Every company should have a rapid-response plan that it routinely reviews, refines and trains on. This should include the processes for identifying, escalating and managing issues and inquiries – even when you do not know what is going to happen.

  • Over-communicate compliance policies: Ensure your company has robust controls in place and communicates its compliance policies clearly and regularly to all employees.

  • Establish your relationship: Once an investigation has begun, your initial interactions with regulators will be critical to setting the right tone, attitude and approach.

  • Recognize the value in cooperation: Being proactive, responsive and respectful is instrumental to productive cooperation, which could potentially lead to a reduced penalty.

  • Speaking with one voice: Deliver any external statements consistently across your stakeholder groups, with legal, IR and communications teams working together on strategy and messaging.

  • Do no harm: Make sure that any public statements are fully vetted and accurate. If you do not have all the information yet, say what you can, but only what you know is true.

Reining in AI

​Details are beginning to emerge about the White House’s anticipated AI Executive Order, expected to be released sometime this month.

The EO is anticipated to be the most significant action taken yet by the Biden administration related to the oversight of AI. 

POLITICO reported the EO is “expected to leverage the federal government’s vast purchasing power to shape American standards” for AI technology, according to three people with knowledge. 

The order is expected to build on and codify the White House’s voluntary commitments on safety, security and trust signed by 15 major tech companies this summer by incorporating some of the work done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop tighter industry guidelines on testing and evaluating AI systems.

More specifically, the order is expected to require cloud computing companies to monitor and track users who might be developing powerful AI systems, contain provisions to streamline the recruitment and retention of AI talent from overseas and include investments to boost domestic AI training and education. There could also be a classified annex to the executive order, geared at national security use cases for AI.

The strategy has precedent in the executive order on AI that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed in September, which state officials told POLITICO was developed in close consultation with the White House. It’s also similar to the approach Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) has taken in Congress by spearheading legislative proposals to regulate the government’s own handling of AI.

October 24, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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