With this victory, the YouTube Music contractors have solidified their position as some of the most sought-after employees in the music industry. The unionization will give the workers a voice and ensure that they are treated fairly and equitably – something that was clearly lacking in their previous employment situation.
Assuming the union can ratify their contract, this election could usher in a new era of parity for Google’sYouTube Music workers. Previously, these workers were vastly outnumbered by those working for contractors such as Cognizant, meaning that they didn’t have much bargaining power. With a stronger union in place, Google may be more inclined to ensure fair pay and benefits for its employees–thus giving them the better negotiating position they need to extract top dollar from their contractor employers.
If the NLRB ruling holds, this would be a major victory for tech workers, as it would provide them with the first official unionization of their population. This could set a precedent for other divisions at Google, and may help to improve wages and working conditions for these workers.
On February 25th, 40 workers went on strike against their respective employers in order to gain union representation. The workers allege that both companies engaged in unfair labor practices in an effort to impede union organizing. In spite of the concerted efforts of the companies, the workers voted 51% in favor of unionization in a July vote.
The sudden decision by YouTube to end remote work before a proposed National Labor Relations Board vote is suspected of being an act of retaliation against the video site’s employees who are engaged in unionization efforts. The company has cited the threat of interference with voting conditions as justification for its action, but tens of thousands of workers believe that it is simply trying to undermine the validity of their vote.
The employees of the remote workers of Cognizant Technologies complain that the return to office mandate is unfair, as most were hired remotely in the first place and about a quarter are not based in Texas, where the company’s headquarters are. The workers were reminded about returning to office since December 2021 but many feel that this was done with knowledge that they may not always stay remote.
Since the Alphabet Workers Union strike protected them from voluntary termination, 15 workers who live out of state or cannot go to the office remain on strike. They help organize new contractors, who have been hired after the striker and are now trying to get their work done as best they can.
Alphabet’s biggest success this quarter was their Google Cloud division, which reported a profit for the first time. However, the company is still seeing layoffs, with 12,000 people losing their jobs in January. CEO Sundar Pichai made $226 million in total compensation last year.