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40 Google contractors lost their jobs after a prolonged strike

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Google has been cutting employees left and right, and a new report states that another 40 Google workers have lost their jobs. However, this wasn’t because of economic conditions. The report states that 40 Google contractors who were on strike lost their jobs.

At the moment, and this will be explained later in the article, whether these workers were technically employees or not is still up for debate. The workers in question were contract workers who were in charge of moderating content for YouTube Music. The team consisted of 40 workers, and they were employed through a company called Cognizant which is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

The reason for the strike had to do with Google’s return to work-policy. Last February, the workers went on strike to oppose the return to work-policy. They stated that remote workers were paid as little as $19/hour thus, according to them, returning to work would not have been financially viable. Thus, the strike ensued and went on for over a year.

40 Google contractors lost their jobs after a prolonged strike

Right now, it’s tempting to believe that Google canceled the contracts of these workers. However, a Google spokesperson spoke to The Verge and explained that Google did not cancel the contracts. Rather, Cognizant canceled the contract. So, we’re not sure if Google had any role in this decision. It’s tempting to believe so; however, we will have to wait for official information to be sure of that.

One contractor, Jack Benedict, stated, “We have been fighting for years now to get Google, one of the most powerful and well-resourced companies in the world, to negotiate with us so that we could make a living in exchange for the work we do to make their products better.”

As for the workers, Communications officer Jeff DaMarrais said that the workers were given seven weeks of pay as a severance package and the opportunity to find a new position within Cognizant. So, the workers are not left completely without.

Whose decision was it?

While Google stated that Cognizant is the company that pulled the trigger, it should be noted that Google stated that it does not need to negotiate with workers. This could be one reason as to why the strike went on for so long. The company claims that, since the workers were hired through a third-party contractor, they are not technically employees. Since Google believes that it is not an employer, there’s a chance that Google could have been the company that let go of the contractors and not Cognizant.

However, last year and March, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that, since Google holds the reins over the direction of work, hours, and benefits, it is partially referred to as an employer. We’ll keep you updated on future developments.

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