Emma Coalition Announces Leadership to Expand Engagement on Intersection of Technology and Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MAY 28, 2019) – Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, together with the National Restaurant Association, the largest foodservice trade association in the world, today announced the leadership of the Emma Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preparing American businesses and government for technology-induced displacement of employees (TIDE).

The Emma Coalition seeks to educate the employer community and policymakers about the issues surrounding TIDE, and to maximize its economic and social benefits while minimizing the disruptive costs for employers and the workforce. The Coalition directly engages with policymakers on the importance of confronting TIDE and with employers to create training programs and practices that workers need to compete in the post-TIDE economy. Supporting this mission, the members of the Emma Coalition’s inaugural Board of Directors are:

  • President – Michael J. Lotito, Littler Shareholder and Co-Chair of the firm’s Workplace Policy Institute
  • Treasurer – James A. Paretti, Jr., Littler Shareholder and member of the firm’s Workplace Policy Institute
  • Secretary – Charles L. Merin, Executive Vice President, Prime Policy Group
  • Member – Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO, National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
  • Member – Tom Green, Founder and Publisher, Asian Robotics Review
  • Executive Director – Shannon Meade, Vice President of Public Policy, National Restaurant Association

“The rise of AI, robotics and automation will continue to dramatically boost productivity and create unprecedented opportunities for companies that embrace these technologies and proactively prepare their workforces,” said Michael Lotito, Co-Chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute and Co-Founder of the Emma Coalition. “Established in the name of my seven-year old granddaughter, Emma represents the millions of children who will soon join the workforce and deserve nothing less than an economy that can support a prosperous future for all Americans. I am honored to be working alongside this impressive group of individuals who will be instrumental in preparing America’s companies for the workplace of the future.”

Employers are starting to take steps in response to TIDE, but few are sufficiently preparing for the impact on the workforce, according to Littler’s eighth annual survey of more than 1,300 employers. The most common actions respondents are taking to prepare for the impact of robotics, AI and automation on the workplace and workforce are identifying tasks that could be automated (37 percent) and hiring employees skilled in emerging technologies (22 percent). However, 46 percent have not taken any action in this area, reiterating the Emma Coalition’s urgency in addressing this issue.

The latest in a series of resources developed to educate employers and policymakers, the Emma Coalition has released a report, “Automation & Artificial Intelligence: TIDE at the Tipping Point,” outlining the staggering pace of technological disruption, the impact across industries and geographies, and activity to address TIDE at the federal, state and local levels. While news reports often focus on the negative implications, the report stresses the positive impact of TIDE. Many economists have found that automation will likely have an overall positive effect on the labor market, leading to economic growth, reduced prices and increased demand. Automation may also minimize labor-intensive, low-paying jobs with better jobs, if steps are taken to ensure employees are adequately prepared.

“As we look ahead to the modern restaurant of the future, we are focused on developing a workforce that can grow and thrive in an ever-changing environment. Our involvement with the Emma Coalition is key to providing our members with industry-leading training, resources and insights on the implementation of robotics and advanced technologies in their operations,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

At Littler’s 36th annual Executive Employer Conference, the Emma Coalition debuted interviews on automation and the future of work with members of congress. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL), member of the House Education and Labor Committee, encouraged a comprehensive review of labor laws to reflect the realities of the evolving workplace and a new approach to workforce education, while Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Haley Stevens (D-MI) discussed the efforts of the New Democrat Coalition around the future of work.

For more information on the Emma Coalition, please visit www.emmacoalition.com.

About Littler

With more than 1,500 labor and employment attorneys in offices around the world, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere. Our diverse team and proprietary technology foster a culture that celebrates original thinking, delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers for what’s happening today, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow. 

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit us at Restaurant.org.