YouTube Music contractors vote overwhelmingly to unionize in landmark election
For the first time, Google may need to collectively bargain with some of its workers.
On Wednesday, a group of contractors at YouTube Music voted to unionize with the Alphabet Workers Union-Communications Workers of America (AWU-CWA). Out of the 49 workers who were eligible to vote, 41 voted in favor of the action, with the remaining eight abstaining. As of last year, the workers were already paying AWU-CWA dues but were seeking bargaining rights. In March, the group won a landmark legal victory when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Google must bargain with them to ratify their union contract.
After months of union-busting by @Google & @Cognizant, our YouTube Music members have just won their NLRB union election in a blowout victory & are ready to bring BOTH of their employers to the negotiating table to win their fair share.✨✨ pic.twitter.com/zJot09Dsx8
— Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA) (@AlphabetWorkers) April 26, 2023
While Google vowed to challenge the ruling, the results of today’s vote could have significant implications for the company. Provided the NLRB’s decision stands, Google will need to collectively bargain with a group of its US employees for the first time in the company's nearly 25-year history. That’s something that could prompt other groups within the tech giant to pursue unionization.
“After months of union-busting by Google and Cognizant, our YouTube Music members have just won their NLRB union election in a blowout victory and are ready to bring both of their employers to the table to win their fair share,” the Alphabet Workers Union tweeted.
Although Wednesday's vote was months in the making, it comes after Google laid off 12,000 employees – or about six percent of its global workforce – in late January. This week, the company shared its Q1 earnings results, reporting a net income of $15 billion. It also announced a $70 billion stock buyback. In 2022, the year workers at YouTube Music Content Operations filed for union recognition with the NLRB, Google compensated CEO Sundar Pichai to the tune of $226 million.