May 28, 2019

National Restaurant Association Takes Coalition Leadership Role to Address Challenges from Rapid Technology Advances

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – National Restaurant Association President & CEO Dawn Sweeney and Vice President of Public Policy Shannon Meade will each hold leadership roles in a rapidly-growing coalition working to address the dramatic impacts that Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies will have on the workforce and workplace.
The Emma Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, seeks to organize a nationwide effort and partnership among small and large American businesses and the organizations that represent them; representatives of organized labor; and nonprofit, research and academic institutions to prepare the workforce for the coming technology-induced disruption of employees (TIDE) through education, training and engagement with policymakers.
As a founder and leader, the National Restaurant Association will work to anticipate and address ways to maximize social and economic benefits while minimizing disruption for employers and employees. The coalition will engage with policymakers on the importance of confronting TIDE and with employers to create training programs and best practices to help workers adapt and compete in the years ahead.
Dawn Sweeney will serve on the group’s board of directors along with Michael Lotito and James Paretti, shareholders with Littler Mendelson, P.C., the nation’s largest employment and labor law practice; Charles Merin, Executive Vice President of Prime Policy Group; and, Tom Green, Founder and Publisher of Asian Robotics Review. Shannon Meade will serve as Executive Director.
“As the second largest private sector employer in the nation, representing more than 15.1 million employees, the restaurant industry is at the epicenter of this dramatic transformation. The Association is taking on this leadership role as we have an obligation to our entire industry to be out front on this issue.” Meade said. “The National Restaurant Association has long been a leader in training, career development and forward-looking policymaking that benefits employers, employees and consumers. Our support for, and involvement with, the Emma Coalition is a logical extension of this work,” Meade said.
“Government, industry and policymakers all have an opportunity to examine TIDE issues today, and forge consensus around policies that can help us prepare in advance for the technology and workforce of the future. Through the Emma Coalition, we are excited to help lead this conversation and to advocate for ways that today’s workers and employers can evolve and adapt together as more technology enters the market,” she added.
The Emma Coalition has already unveiled early work to raise awareness and build support for greater government, worker and industry association on TIDE and related issues. At Littler’s annual Employer Conference in Phoenix, the coalition unveiled a report, Automation & Artificial Intelligence: TIDE at the Tipping Point. It documents the pace of technology change and disruption as well as activities that policymakers can take to address TIDE at local, state and federal levels. The report emphasizes that the focus from all parties remain positive, because this type of disruption often leads to positive effects on the labor market, economic growth, reduced prices and increased demand.

The Emma Coalition is a 501 (c) 3 nonpartisan organization.  Resources include:

  • The Emma Coalition website
  • Video interviews with Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee; as well as Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), members of the New Democrat Coalition.
  • The coalition report Automation & Artificial Intelligence: TIDE at the Tipping Point
  • Additional coalition reports

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 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.