“If you are having an increase in sales and in productivity, the workers should share in that benefit,” said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, representing tens of thousands of grocery store workers. “Right now, the owners of these companies are the only ones benefiting.”
Labor experts and Wall Street analysts also predict that the job of picking items off the shelf and taking them to a customers’ cars can easily be done by machines, which means that the boom in jobs may be fleeting.
Even now, that work is highly automated. Workers fulfilling curbside orders at Walmart use a hand-held device that indicates the order in which they should pick each item, for maximum efficiency.
“They can sometime feel like robots,” Mr. Perrone said.
A recent report by the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the nonprofit Working Partnerships USA predicted