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German workers picket. Photo: Michael Probst / AP

German labor leaders don't fear technological unemployment but say they are embracing the robot revolution as an inevitability that can be leveraged to supplement an aging workforce and relieve workers from onerous, dangerous tasks.

Why it matters: Unions in the United States and Europe were caught flat footed by deindustrialization, which took jobs from their members through automation and outsourcing. German labor groups say that to survive they must both protect remaining industrial workers, but also prepare for the economy of the future, and recruit workers who will be working along with robots and artificial intelligence.

Politico's chief Europe correspondent, Matthew Karnitschnig, reports that the German labor movement, which has watched union density fall from more than 40% in the 1990s to just 16% today, is launching training programs and recruitment and lobbying strategies centered on "phenomena such as 'crowd work' and other project-based digital employment, where traditional labor rules are of little help."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

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