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Youtube contractors at Cognizant go on strike as NLRB finds Google to be a joint employer

Last month, YouTube Music workers contracted with Cognizant Technology Solutions began a historic Unfair Labor Practice strike – the first known strike by workers at a Google-owned company. The strike was kicked off after Cognizant and Google management announced that they were forcing workers back to the office in Austin, TX, despite the majority of workers having been hired remotely and thus being unable to work in Austin. The move threatens the livelihoods of workers living outside of the Austin area.

“We believe that the return-to-office mandate is an act of union busting — retaliation against our organizing efforts, and an attempt to chill our union drive,” said Cognizant employee Sam Regan. “The return-to-office date was announced one week after we filed, and our employer has sent out messages acknowledging that one of our central aims with the union is to fight a return to office.”

Last week, in a win for Cognizant workers, an NLRB regional director found Alphabet (Google’s parent company) to be a joint employer of the workers and that the workers constitute a potential bargaining unit that could join Alphabet Workers Union. If the finding survives Google’s appeal, both Cognizant and Google will be required to negotiate with the union.    

"Alphabet employs more subcontractors than direct employees,” said Google engineer and Alphabet Workers Union executive chair Parul Koul. “This employment model allows them to profit billions every quarter while denying responsibility for tens of thousands of workers who are integral to that income."

Learn more about the strike in this tweet thread from More Perfect Union.


Google’s YouTube Music Workers Are on Strike (Feb. 13, 2023)

NLRB says Google is an employer of YouTube contractors (Axios, Mar. 6, 2023)