Today’s News & Commentary — September 20, 2016

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx issued a policy paper that outlines 15 points he expects automakers to comply with as self-driving cars hit the road. The paper hits on four main points: what the vehicles need to do to be safe, what federal and state governments need to do, how the Department of Transportation will use existing regulatory tools, and what new regulatory tools may be needed. Self driving cars have the potential to render the employee or independent contractor question obsolete for Uber and other car service companies, and have already been introduced in some American cities.

On the same line of news, Uber announced plans to open a facility in Detroit to allow it to work more closely with car companies to develop its plans for a self-driving cab fleet. The company has not yet released specifics about the plan, including how many people it plans to employ there.

G.M. and Unifor, the private sector union for auto workers in Canada, reached a deal to avert a 3,900 person strike. The parties agreed to a deal in which G.M. closes one assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario but agreed to open another one, resulting in a net increase of jobs, and moved production of an engine from Mexico to another Ontario plant. If this contract is approved by workers, Unifor will use it as a template for upcoming negotiations with Ford Motor Co. and Fiat-Chrystler Automobiles.

Louise Matsakis at Motherboard profiles a shipping and packing warehouse, Quiet Logistics, that “employs” primarily robot workers.  Many of those interviewed said they do not envision robot workers entirely replacing human workers, but workers themselves are not convinced.