Watch: YouTube Music contractor finds his team got ‘laid off’ during union’s pay negotiation testimony at US city council meeting

The YouTube Music team, based in Austin, Texas, was laid off last week, according to the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), which represents employees at Google’s parent company. This comes amidst rising tensions between the union and Google.
The news hit some workers particularly hard – they reportedly learned of their termination while advocating for their rights at an Austin City Council meeting.A video of the meeting shows a visibly distressed worker informing the council that the team was being laid off effective immediately.
“This is the exact moment our coworkers found out we had been laid off while speaking in front of city council,” posted one of the laid off worker on X, formerly Twitter.

Alphabet Union Points to Low Wages and Refusal to Bargain
The AWU claims the YouTube Music team was underpaid, with some members forced to hold multiple jobs to make ends meet. They allege workers received minimal benefits despite contributing to a billion-dollar platform.
Further escalating tensions, the AWU asserts that Google has refused to negotiate with the union since its formation in April 2023. This follows a strike by the YouTube Music team in February 2023 over Google’s remote work restrictions.
Contracting Company Claims Contractual Termination
Cognizant, the professional services company that employed the YouTube Music team under contract with Google, states that the layoffs were due to a contract reaching its natural expiration date. They reportedly offered the laid-off workers seven weeks of paid time to seek new positions within Cognizant.
Google Distances Itself from layoffs
Google has denied responsibility for the layoffs, claiming Cognizant was solely responsible for ending the workers’ contracts.
Union Calls Out Potential Retaliation
The AWU remains unconvinced, suggesting these layoffs might be retaliation for the unionization efforts and the City Council meeting.

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