“Wise young people who are looking for a career in the grocery business might take a look at the trend lines for the implementation of Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID. It is that technology, being implemented by Wal-Mart, that threatens the jobs of the striking grocery workers, not the low wages Wal-Mart pays.”
North Country has been beset by disintermediation, that is,
“RFID is another step in “disintermediation” —- the loss of intermediaries.”
Mr. Hemphill juxtaposes RFID technology with a grocery store clerk strike, noting that the clerk’s union has less than five years remaining if it succeeds, ten years if it does not.
While item level RFID is promising, it is unlikley that it will replace grocery clerks. Recent trials with self-checkout at large grocery chains enforces this idea: checkout technology innacuracies, retail theft, and grocery line sales indicate no diminishing need for checkout labor. Despite popular sentiment, the five cent tag necessary for item level tagging is unlikely within the time frame of the next decade. As no successful business case for store wide grocery tagging exists, the grocery clerks of North County have substantial leverage in their strike.