Tuesday, September 3, 2019

CBC: Union head encourages patrons not to use automated checkout

According to the CBC, Stephanie Smith, president of the B.C. Government Employees Union (BCGEU), took the opportunity to speak to the CBC's listeners and discourage them from using automated self-checkouts that had been brought to the Merritt Library.

Smith claims that the automated service has disrupted librarian's work and disconnected them from a vital part of their work; interacting with the library's patrons.

Smith also echoed concerns that have been raised in the field of retail where automated checkout has been labled as confusing by consumers and a job killer by workers.

Chief librarian for the Thompson Nicola Regional District libraries, Judy Moore, points to the popularity of the machines and the fact that no staff have been laid off since the machines were installed in 2018 as evidence that the union's fears are unfounded.

Smith's concerns remain, however, as she points to the fact that automation is more often about cutting labor costs than increased efficiency for workers.

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