Labor board decision could force Google to negotiate with YouTube contractors

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, should be considered a joint employer for a group of YouTube Music contractors. The workers are currently trying to organize with the Alphabet Worker’s Union, and the NLRB’s decision could mean the tech giant must negotiate with them if they vote to unionize in an upcoming election.

The workers are directly employed by a company called Cognizant, which acts as a contractor for Alphabet. However, the NLRB believes that Google has enough control over their “benefits, hours of work, supervision and direction of work” to qualify as a partial employer. according Bloomberg.

“We are proud to achieve an unprecedented victory, not only for ourselves, but for workers across the country,” said Sam Regan, a labor organizer and YouTube Music entrepreneur, quoted in a press release from the AWU. “Tech companies in particular have been innovating new ways to deny responsibility for their workers’ livelihoods through outsourcing, gig work, and other poor employment practices.”

For its part, Alphabet intends to appeal the decision of the NLRB. “We simply don’t control the employment or working conditions of these workers,” spokeswoman Courtenay Mencini said. Bloomberg.

In addition to union mobilization and the fight to have Alphabet recognized as a joint employer, the entrepreneurs went on strike in February to protest back-to-office orders – the first strike at the company, according to the AWU. The dates of the union elections have not yet been publicly announced.

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