Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where are you Paul Proteus?

So before the election tsunami, this deserves mention. All but labor wonks really should just skip this.  I hope nobody thinks the economy is tanking because of the news that UPMC is laying off transcriptionists.  I'm a little surprised there are too many transcriptionists left in the first place.

There is a reason that the protagonist of Kurt Vonnegut's 1952 novel Player Piano has heading off to Pittsburgh for a big promotion.  Not to many years earlier Vonnegut was here in town going to school at Carnegie Tech as well.

But less than a decade later it was local congressman Elmer Holland, representing the South Side of the city and near environs, who took the lead on looking at the impact of automation on the labor force.  Even back then the article notes that 40,000 telephone operators had already lost their jobs because of automation.

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