Technology is playing a growing role in brick-and-mortar retail – just look at Amazon's Go stores, which feature automated, and therefore cashierless, checkout. And while retailers are anxious not to be left behind, analysts and labor advocates have long recognized the potential threat to retail workers' jobs that all this new technology represents. Occasionally, the threat surfaces in a labor dispute, such as the one that Macy's recently faced – and lost.
Macy's workers represented by a union successfully challenged a self-checkout feature in Macy's app, which workers said prevented them from earning the commissions they were entitled to. An independent arbitrator agreed and ruled that Macy's must not offer the self-checkout option in departments where employees earn commissions as part of their pay.
In the arbitration, Macy’s said it needed the technology “to remain competitive in an ever changing retail market.”