The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Google’s refusal to bargain with a group of unionized YouTube Music contractors is illegal. The board decided that despite denials by Google and its subcontractor Cognizant, the two are, in fact, joint employers of the workers who perform data-related tasks. Google’s troubles with its YouTube Music contractors began last year when the workers voted to join the Alphabet Workers Union. They were concerned about being required to return to the office instead of working remotely. This is not the first time Google has faced similar issues. The NLRB issued a similar ruling in November over a group of contractors who had voted to unionize. Google plans to appeal the ruling in federal court. A new NLRB rule that took effect in December will make it even harder for companies like Google to argue they aren’t responsible for dealing with unionization efforts by third-party contractors. This ruling effectively makes it easier for unions to organize contract and franchise workers. Under the new ruling, a company such as Google would be considered a joint employer of contracted workers if they hold control over working conditions such as pay, scheduling, discipline, and other factors.


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