In the fight for workers’ rights, there’s power in numbers. Not just masses of union members, but also masses of data. At least that’s what Fredrik Söderqvist, a trade union researcher in Sweden, is banking on with a new algorithm he’s developing to mine patterns to improve bargaining outcomes.
Söderqvist says his algorithm could help organizers anticipate when a company is vulnerable to bargaining, or likely to lay off workers. It could make major waves in Swedish labor; the white-collar, private sector union he works for, Unionen, has nearly 650,000 members — approximately 10 percent of Sweden’s working-age population.