Google is cutting a team of YouTube Music contractors who have gone on strike

A union representing YouTube Music contractors claims Google cut workers' contracts after they went on a long strike.

The Alphabet-CWA labor union, which represents contractors, said the team consisted of moderators employed by Google contractor Cognizant in Austin, Texas, which was responsible for approving music content for YouTube Music.

In a statement emailed to the edgeGoogle spokesperson Courtenay Mencini confirmed that the decision to cut the team was not in their hands, but rather in Cognizant's, and said, “Contracts with our suppliers across the country routinely expire at their normal expiration date.”

The team of more than 40 people went on strike in February last year, demanding changes to Google's return-to-work policy. Many workers hired to work remotely are paid as little as $19 an hour, and it would be too expensive to go to the office, the union said.

Google has previously argued that it does not have to negotiate with the workers because they are not Google employees. However, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in March 2023 that because Google controls the benefits, hours, and direction of contractors' work, it is considered a partial employer. The company appealed, and the NLRB upheld its ruling in January of this year. Google can appeal to federal court.

“This is devastating. We have been fighting for years now to get Google, one of the most powerful and well-resourced companies in the world, to negotiate with us so that we can earn a living for the work we do to improve their products. “This is devastating,” contractor and union member Jack Benedict said in a statement. “It is disgusting that Google took this course when confronted with its workers’ humble demands for fair treatment at work.”

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YouTube Music contractors aren't the only ones fighting Google to be recognized as employees. CNBC reported The NLRB said Google could be called a partial employer of unionized contractors with Accenture, which already worked on Google Search and previously renamed Bard.

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