YouTube Music team laid off by Google while workers testified to Austin City Council about working conditions::Some workers learned of the YouTube Music layoffs while testifying to the Austin city council about Google’s refusal to negotiate with the union.

  • @SuperIce
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    3 months ago

    Cognizant, a professional services company that Alphabet contracted the YouTube Music team through, said in a statement that the workers were let go after their contract ended at its intended date, according to KXAN in Austin.

    A spokesperson for Google told Business Insider that Cognizant is responsible for ending the workers’ employment, not Google.

    “Contracts with our suppliers across the company routinely end on their natural expiry date, which was agreed to with Cognizant,” the company said in a statement.

    Not sure how much of the fault is from Google’s side here since the employees contracted from another company.

    • Jo Miran
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      1093 months ago

      I am not defending Google here, but Cognizant is trash. I run a firm of specialist and a bulk of our work is cleaning up after outfits like Cognizant , Infosys, etc.

      All that said, firing a group of 43 workers that chose to unionize during an Austin City Council meeting as it was being live streamed is all sorts of spicy. Google and Cognizant fucked up.

      • Avid Amoeba
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        73 months ago

        How’s that work, is there lots of hair pulling? Or are you able to charge an arm and a leg and set your timelines because the clients don’t have much of a choice?

          • @psycho_driver
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            73 months ago

            My complaints on quality of code, maintainability, et cetera are met with “they move faster”, “they have more expertise doing projects like this”, and “they help keep us lean”.

            This is all corpo speak for “they were cheap and their H1Bs were close to expiration”

      • Avid Amoeba
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        23 months ago

        It’s no surprise, after all Cognizant is the first letter in CHWTIA. 🤭

    • @[email protected]
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      3 months ago

      Contractors at Google and other tech companies are typically treated and managed as real employees except for minor legal-motivated things like travel which is treated differently.

      Further, contracts are typically for a fixed period of time.

      That these employees/contractors seemed genuinely surprised by the abrupt termination suggests this was not the natural end of their contract. Google, not Cognizant, decides when their contracts end. If their contracts were terminated with no warning or reason given, it was initiated by Google. And with that background it seems pretty likely it was in retaliation to the union activity.

      “But they’re not Google employees”, right? But then, that’s why Google and other tech companies use contractors - to avoid giving those employees actual employee protections.

    • @[email protected]
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      353 months ago

      If the team is finding out that their job ends on the same day, it’s totally Google’s doing, and not the vendor company.

      Google loves cheap, disposable workers, that why half of their workers are contractors.

      • @ShunkW
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        173 months ago

        I mean, if you’re a contractor and they haven’t discussed extending more than a month ahead of time, expect your contract to end on its end date. That’s just common sense.

          • @ShunkW
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            03 months ago

            I would never sign a contract without knowing the details.

            • @[email protected]
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              93 months ago

              Cognizant employees don’t sign a contract. They are W2 employees, who are “contracted out” to other companies. The contract is between Cognizant and the third party. The employee literally never sees it.

              • @ShunkW
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                13 months ago

                That’s not true. When they sign to work with a client, they’re given an initial end date. Worked with many of them throughout the years.

                • @[email protected]
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                  3 months ago

                  I assure you, they are not. Unless it’s a one off project and not an ongoing project like YouTube music would be.

              • @ShunkW
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                3 months ago

                deleted by creator

              • @[email protected]
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                -13 months ago

                They have a contract with their employer, though. The problem here is not contracting, it’s this stupid at-will employment that allows this to happen

                • @[email protected]
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                  33 months ago

                  They are W2 employees. They have a contract insofar as any other W2 employer.

                  Unless you mean the employer and the third party, in this case Google, which I absolutely agree with.

                  And yeah, the at-will bs gets quite tiresome. People assume they are “safe” because they aren’t contracted, but when you’re contracted you can tie in early term fees and such, and you can still be fired at the drop of a hat.

            • @Olgratin_Magmatoe
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              23 months ago

              Easy to say that if there is food already on your table.

              • @ShunkW
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                13 months ago

                I can’t believe it’s controversial to say you should read a contract before you sign it.

                • @Olgratin_Magmatoe
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                  03 months ago

                  When most contracts are full of legalise, hundreds of pages long, and are required to be signed off on as quickly as possible so that you can get the job you may have already quit your previous one for, reading and understanding every word isn’t always possible.

            • @dumpsterlid
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              3 months ago

              wow, that is so brave, you must be the protagonist! I keep meeting all the background characters and I am like these people suck

              • @ShunkW
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                23 months ago

                It’s brave to read a contract before you sign it? I guess I’m the bravest then, cuz not doing so is stupid.

            • @Clent
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              -13 months ago

              The important part here is your signally that you do not side with workers. You are a class traitor. How you justify it does not matter.

              • @ShunkW
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                33 months ago

                Lol ok Hun. You tell me that when you need to pay bills and it’s the only offer on the table, idiot.

                • @Clent
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                  23 months ago

                  apparently you are the one in a position to pick and choose and look down on those who aren’t as clever as you.

        • @Olgratin_Magmatoe
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          53 months ago

          I’ve worked at two employers who used the contractor loophole. At the first one, the length of the contract and extensions were never mentioned to me ever. The second one constantly played games with extension. At one point I was set to have my final week of employment, only for them to extend it over the weekend.

          I’ve been in the contractor shoes for way longer than I should have (which is zero), So as a hardfast rule, “expect your contract to end on its end date” simply doesn’t hold up. Corps like to play games with it, and leave employees out of the loop.

        • @radicalautonomy
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          33 months ago

          They did tell these employees to not worry about their contract ending, that it would be extended.

    • @radicalautonomy
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      283 months ago

      The National Labor Review Board ruled that Google was a co-employer of these union members and, thus, ruled that both Google and Cognizant had to come to the table to hammer out a bargaining agreement with them. Google refused. When this council resolution was put forth, Katherine McAden of Google Austin emailed the Austin City Council members on 02/28/24 to ask them to postpone the vote to “give Google, and the City Council, time to fully understand the direction of this item and potential local outcomes.” The very next day (02/29/24), while two members were in the middle of testifying to the council, that was the exact moment Google fired the lot of them.

      I don’t see how much more open and shut you can get here.

      • @PigsInClover
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        93 months ago

        Thank you for this. This should be the top comment.

        I wonder how the new Cemex framework affects this.

    • YⓄ乙
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      223 months ago

      Lol corporate world is not for you my guy. They contract other companies specifically for this reason. Order cognizant to fire workers and when questioned , oooohh they were contractors. 🤷‍♀️

    • @Phoenix3875
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      183 months ago

      At least in the UK, if you work like an employee enough, the court can overrule the technicality of your employment status as a contractor and apply labor law protections.

      • @radicalautonomy
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        83 months ago

        This is exactly what happened with these union members. The National Labor Review Board ruled that Google was a co-employer along with Cognizant, and they ruled that Google just come to the bargaining table with these union members. They refused. They emailed city council members asking for a postponement of their vote to give them time to sort stuff out, and it was granted. The very next day, the fired the entire union out of retaliation for speaking to the city council voicing their concerns.

      • RedFox
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        33 months ago

        You have any idea the wide spread feelings on this?

        It sounds like that’s what we should be doing in more countries,.US.

        • @ShunkW
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          113 months ago

          Oh the US has tried to fix this issue multiple times. The end result was many of us getting laid off after 18 months every time because they couldn’t extend our contacts any further by law. There’s no reason for a company to convert a contractor if they’re not required to.

          • Pika
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            93 months ago

            that’s because they keep going at it from a timeline POV; I believe if they made required work time slots as a limitation against contract work (i.e if you are required to work between x-y daily) this issue would be resolved. There’s no real reason for many contract positions to be a static time slot, contractors are supposed to be fully flexible on their own time as long as the end product is correct and within SLA, thd only benefit to fixed scheduling is management level, so I think that would tip the scale onto employee instead of contractor

            • @ShunkW
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              13 months ago

              That’s really only true for independent contractors, not W2 contract work to be fair. And every 1099 contract I’ve worked I’ve always clarified that stipulation in writing. In the interest of working together I do agree to be on daily or semi daily standups to allow progress.

          • RedFox
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            33 months ago

            Yeah, it’s frustrating when people in turn can’t find good medical insurance.

            The trade for sometimes higher pay or flexibility in assignments doesn’t work when you can’t afford insurance or other benefits.

            Assuming you were even being paid about permanent positions.

            • @ShunkW
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              23 months ago

              Yeah it’s really frustrating. I’m fortunately at a level where the contracting companies have to provide at least decent benefits to get employees. But contracting sucks. Often you’re restricted in what you can do, causing unnecessary delays to getting software done at the rate the company wants.

              I’ve been yelled at by upper management for not doing something I legally wasn’t allowed to. No apology when an employee on the call pointed it out of course.

              It’s a shit show. But my market is fucked right now so I’m about to go get a job at a grocery store or something and figure it out I guess.

              • @[email protected]
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                13 months ago

                Those work situations are the worst. It reminds me of the saying “you can be right, or you can get what you want, but not both”.

                You can correctly assert your contractor status and correctly point out that you’re not legally allowed to do a thing. You’re in the right, no doubt, but that doesn’t stop an unhappy executive from “letting you go” anyway.

    • @[email protected]
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      133 months ago

      Contactor staffing companies exist solely to get around employment regulations. Demonic industry

    • @kalkulat
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      93 months ago

      Blaming another business? Hmmm. Sounds like Boeing’s attempted solution.

    • @[email protected]
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      -53 months ago

      Yeah I don’t understand why Google is being blamed here. If the contact ended with Cognizant then it is upto Cognizant to find other projects for the people who were part of the contract. That’s how it works with these companies. If CTS couldn’t find work in other projects then it’s on CTS and not on Google

      • @radicalautonomy
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        43 months ago

        The National Labor Review Board ruled that Google was a co-employer of these union members and, thus, ruled that both Google and Cognizant had to come to the table to hammer out a bargaining agreement with them. Google refused that order. When this council resolution was put forth, Katherine McAden of Google Austin emailed the Austin City Council members on 02/28/24 to ask them to postpone the vote to “give Google, and the City Council, time to fully understand the direction of this item and potential local outcomes.” The very next day (02/29/24), while two members were in the middle of testifying to the council, that was the exact moment Google fired the lot of them.

        I don’t see how much more open and shut you can get here.

        • @[email protected]
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          13 months ago

          I see. Thanks for this. Explains it more clearly. I thought the situation was more amicable than this.

    • @kescusay
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      -103 months ago

      Damn it, what am I supposed to do with this pitchfork now?

      But seriously, shitty misleading headline.

      • @GlendatheGayWitch
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        323 months ago

        If you watch the video, one of the union members is at the Council meeting speaking to the City Council and another union member walks up to him to inform him that they were laid off with immediate effect. The workers both seemed genuinely surprised that they were laid off.

      • @Clent
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        23 months ago

        Use it.

        Don’t be fooled by layers of bureaucracy.

        As along as it lands in the soft belly of those in the owner class or their supporters, it has served it purpose.

      • @steakmeout
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        -173 months ago

        Take your dumb reddit shit back to reddit.

  • @[email protected]
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    293 months ago

    Having moved onto a team in my company with Cognizant contractors, I can kinda understand Google not renewing the contract. In my experience, half of the PRs needed to be redone because of poor quality.

    • @ShunkW
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      53 months ago

      Yep. Worked with them before. They coached their consultants to pass our tech interviews but had zero actual experience. One guy didn’t know how to open a rails console… On a rails app job. Accenture is just as bad.

    • @radicalautonomy
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      23 months ago

      They’d been working on this contract for five years. And the NLRB ruled that Google was a co-employer and must sit down with the union to work out a bargaining agreement. This firing was not to do with their job skills. It was entirely retaliatory.

  • TCGM
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    273 months ago

    That sounds all kinds of highly illegal and I cannot wait for the delicious lawsuit

  • @TankovayaDiviziya
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    193 months ago

    Well, well, well… who would have thought that the company who said don’t do evil did evil anyway. This is why I don’t trust corporations because their only loyalty is to investors who just wants more money.

    • @SendMePhotos
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      113 months ago

      Genuinely, why is it so difficult to be a good company? There’s that one company that paid all their workers like 70k and the employees would die for the company. Loyalty means something and reinvesting in your workers builds a stronger company, no? What’s the deal? Everyone fights for pennies vs building a strong foundation in a company culture and living it.

      • MeepsTheBard
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        83 months ago

        The people making the big decisions aren’t the ones working. They’re the ones put in charge to make money for investors, who want monthly returns. Not “here’s what will get us 1XX% growth in 6-8 years,” but now.

        And you’d think this would only be the case with public companies, but private equity is gobbling up quality companies and milking them dry by cutting costs and abusing their brand’s good name. People want returns on their investments QUICK these days.

        • @SendMePhotos
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          13 months ago

          Interesting. Thanks for sharing, I had no idea. I only checked wiki, but I see that the company is still doing well and has continued to pay it’s staff well through 2023 (wiki link).

          • @TankovayaDiviziya
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            3 months ago

            There’s a handful of ethical companies and does not trade as public or private entity, so they’re not beholden to shareholders, but we wouldn’t hear about them often. Mondragon is a successful co-operative and worker federation company in Spain.

      • @[email protected]
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        43 months ago

        Honest answer. Infinite growth is the only business model we universally accept. This puts unrealistic expectations on how we define success.

        It’s not enough to own a successful diner making good cheap food for 500 people a day. Why can’t you do that for 5000 people? 50,000 people? Then in comes efficiency and questions about profit. Meanwhile your Zadie who started the restaurant 60 years ago is long dead and so is the simple life he envisioned for his kids.

      • @[email protected]
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        43 months ago

        In most cases the shareholders that own the company don’t care about the company’s purpose, just their ROI in a certain time frame. And then the executives incentives are structured to reward quick financial results.

  • @Noble_Stacking_1337
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    123 months ago

    If you want to listen to music on YouTube but don’t like this type of fuckwadary, try out the Clear Skies chrome extension to skip ads and let them keep their advertisements to themselves.

  • AutoTL;DRB
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    103 months ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    The entire YouTube Music team is out of a job as tensions rise at Google parent company, Alphabet.

    “We just got laid off, our jobs are ending today, effective immediately,” one worker tells the city council in video of the meeting.

    In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, the union said the YouTube Music team was based out of Austin, and was receiving such low pay that some members were working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

    The YouTube Music team previously went on strike in February 2023 over Google’s crackdown on remote work.

    Pichai and Google are feeling the growing pressure of competition from new innovations in artificial intelligence, heightened by the company’s recent failures with AI, BI previously reported.

    Google recently put a hold on its AI image generator, Gemini, after it created historically inaccurate photos.


    The original article contains 417 words, the summary contains 140 words. Saved 66%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!