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Google broke labor laws when it refused to bargain with YouTube Music contract workers

Illustration of a YouTube logo with geometric background
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Google’s refusal to bargain with a group of unionized YouTube Music contractors is illegal. The three-member panel decided that despite denials by Google, which owns YouTube Music, and its subcontractor Cognizant, the two are, in fact, joint employers of the Austin-based workers who perform data-related tasks, like finding errors in its charts algorithm.

“At all material times, Respondents Cognizant and Google have codetermined the essential terms and conditions of employment of employees employed at the E. Parmer Lane facility and have been joint employers,” writes the board in its decision (PDF).

Google’s troubles with its YouTube Music contractors first began last year, after a group of…

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