Watch As YouTube Workers Demand A Negotiation… And Google Just Lays Them Off En Masse

Neeva Google

Worker unions have gotten traction only in the last few years in tech but they still aren’t protected from mass layoffs. This sad fact is illustrated by this video that went viral over the weekend.

In it, one YouTube Music contractor is calling on his union members to urge Google to negotiate with them. That is, until a colleague interrupts him to announce he and dozens of others are being laid off. 

The video shows the mass layoff of 43 YouTube workers, who are given just 20 minutes to collect their things before being considered trespassers. The contractors worked for both Google and Cognizant, a company that also made headlines for the terrible conditions of the Facebook moderators Meta contracted from them. 

In this case, the YouTube workers had voted unanimously to unionize back in April 2023. They say that, since then, Google has refused to bargain with them – as you can see from the dreadful video.

The Washington Post added more context:

Google has been in a long-running battle with many of its contractors as they seek the perks and high pay that full-time Google workers are accustomed to. The company has tens of thousands of contractors doing everything from food service to sales to writing code… Google maintains that Cognizant is responsible for the contractors’ employment and working conditions, and therefore isn’t responsible for bargaining with them. Cognizant said it is offering the workers seven weeks of paid time to explore other roles at the company and use its training resources. 

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Cognizant and Google are joint employers of the contractors. In January, the NLRB sent a cease-and-desist letter to both employers for failing to bargain with the union. Since then the issue of joint employment, which would ultimately determine which company is responsible for bargaining, has landed in an appeals court and has yet to be ruled on.”

The workers in this case have done two strikes so far, claiming they don’t receive sick pay and get minimal benefits, as well as a pay as low as $19 an hour.

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