Over 40 contractors for YouTube Music are happening strike — a primary at Google, according to the Alphabet Workers Union (or AWU). The motion is in response to an order to return to in-person work subsequent week, one thing that lots of the staff say they will’t do. They’re demanding a return-to-work coverage that’s “honest, versatile, and doesn’t threaten the security and livelihoods of staff,” based on an AWU press launch.
The employees are a part of the YouTube Music Content material Operations staff through Cognizant, a subcontractor for Alphabet, Google and YouTube’s guardian firm. Their jobs are to “guarantee music content material is on the market and permitted” for the platform, based on a previous press launch from the AWU.
The objections to the return to workplace plan stem from pay and availability. In keeping with the AWU, the contractors are paid as little as $19 an hour, making it troublesome to afford the relocation, journey, or childcare prices that they didn’t should pay when working remotely, as an alternative of at an workplace in Austin, TX.
An unnamed spokesperson for Cognizant instructed Engadget that the return to workplace coverage had been “communicated to [the workers] repeatedly since December 2021,” and that they’d taken the positions “with the understanding that they have been accepting in-office positions, and that the staff would work collectively at a bodily location primarily based in Austin.” Google wouldn’t present an on-the-record remark for this story, however the firm has instructed the Nationwide Labor Relations board that it doesn’t see the employees as its workers, based on Bloomberg.
The contractors are at the moment trying to unionize with the AWU, which filed a petition with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board to characterize the contractors in October. Final week, the AWU filed an unfair labor observe cost in opposition to Alphabet and Cognizant, claiming that the return to workplace was getting used to “intrude with the honest voting circumstances mandated by federal regulation,” as Sam Regan, one of many staff put it in a press launch.
There have been earlier organized labor actions at Google. In 2018, tens of 1000’s of staff walked out to protest how Google dealt with sexual harassment, spurred on by reviews that it had paid Android co-founder Andy Rubin $90 million in severance after he was accused of sexual assault. And in 2022, a bunch of Cognizant contractors engaged on Google Maps have been capable of get their return-to-office pushed again after threatening to strike.
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