The National Labor Relations Board declared that it was unlawful for Google to refuse to engage in negotiations with the unionized contract employees of YouTube Music.

After the contractors became members of the Alphabet Workers Union, Google and its subcontractor Cognizant refuted any misconduct. The disagreement arose from Google’s order for hourly workers to report back to work. Many of these contractors claimed they were unable to return to work without receiving a large salary increase because they had been employed remotely during the pandemic and had to pay more for childcare and transportation.

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Google, meanwhile, contends that it does not participate in the collective bargaining process since it hired Cognizant to handle employee relations. Since the Obama administration, there has been confusion about how firms decide which employees are joint employers of franchise and contract workers. The Trump administration’s rule, which states that companies must have direct control over employees in order to be obligated to engage in collective bargaining, was invoked by the NLRB.

Three NLRB panelists reached a consensus that Google oversees the contract workers for YouTube music directly, as they do data-related jobs.

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They are Google’s first line of defense in case its charting algorithm is found to be flawed. The board states in its ruling that “respondents Cognizant and Google have been joint employers and have co-determined the essential terms and conditions of employment of employees employed at the E. Parmer Lane facility at all material times.”

A Google representative confirmed the company’s intention to file a federal court appeal of the decision in a statement provided to Bloomberg. As we’ve already stated, we don’t object if these Cognizant workers decide to organize a union. We only think that since Cognizant is their employer, collective bargaining is only proper.

Employees at YouTube Music, Katie-Marie Marschner, claim that Alphabet is using any appeals as a means of “plupping the pockets of shareholders and executives” rather than engaging in collective bargaining. Under federal labor law, Google was forced to stop refusing to recognize and deal with these union workers.


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