For the first time, Google-affiliated workers working in YouTube Music have gone on strike, protesting against the immediate work-from-office rule.
They cite infeasibility as the reason for going back to the office while also accusing several moves made by Google and Cognizant, Alphabet’s subcontractor, to stop their unionization efforts. Finally, they have appealed to the National Labor Relations Board to be recognized as “jointly employed” by Cognizant and Alphabet to avail more rights.
Protests by Google Workers
In a rare scene, employees from the freshly formed union in Austin, Texas, are protesting against Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) Work-From-Office policy to the YouTube Music team, starting February 6th, 2023.
Named the Alphabet Works Union-CWA (AWU-CWA), the union members-cum-YouTube Music employees said that Alphabet’s return-to-office threatens their safety and livelihoods – since their $19-per-hour pay makes it hard to afford relocation, travel, and healthcare costs!
— Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA) (@AlphabetWorkers) February 3, 2023
The group also says that most workers were hired to work remotely, and about 25% of them don’t even live in Texas. They also blamed Cognizant – Alphabet’s subcontractor that hired more than 40 employees for YouTube Music wing, for announcing the abrupt return to office call right after they voted to unionize.
They already blamed the managers for suppressing acts of their unionization, like threats and acts like sending work to other offices to “chill” the union efforts. Lastly, the union members claim to have appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be recognized as “jointly employed” by Cognizant and Alphabet – so they can force Alphabet to negotiate under US labor laws.
Though there’s just a bunch of them protesting on this case – it’s still a notable one considering how infrequent that any Google-affiliated makes a work strike.