NLRB Rejects Google’s Claim Not to Be ‘Joint Employer’ for Cognizant Staff


  • The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has dismissed Google’s claim that it should not be classified as an employer for employees supplied by Cognizant Technology Solutions.
  • The Alphabet Workers Union, which was formed three years ago, includes a group of YouTube Music content operation workers who voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing.
  • Google has challenged decisions in favor of the employers by refusing to negotiate, aiming to bring the case back to the NLRB.
  • The NLRB concluded that Google had not introduced any novel concerns for review, while Google intends to request a federal appeals court to review the decision.
  • The company’s labor organization activities have surged both domestically and internationally, including a recent unionization attempt by around 120 contractors working on artificial intelligence applications for Accenture.

NLRB Decision on Google’s Employer Status

The NLRB has rejected Google’s argument that workers provided by the staffing firm, Cognizant Technology Solutions, should not be considered its employees. Last year, a group of YouTube Music content operation workers voted unanimously to join the Alphabet Workers Union, which was established three years ago to organize the company’s employees.

Google’s Response to NLRB Decision

In response to the labor board’s validation of the election results in July, Google argued it lacked sufficient control over the workers to be viewed as a ‘joint employer’ required to negotiate with their union. After being denied the opportunity to appeal the decision, Google refused to negotiate in an attempt to bring the case back before the NLRB. The labor board has stated that no new issues have been raised warranting review.

Google’s Contention with Labor Organizing

Claiming that Google and Cognizant made changes in working conditions without negotiating, a unionized YouTube Music worker and union member voiced her concerns about the expectations for staff returning to office and the removal of sick pay. Google has experienced an increase in labor organization within the US and abroad, including several worker demonstrations against the company’s employment and business policies. Around 120 Google contractor employees who work on artificial intelligence technologies for Accenture recently voted to form a union.

NLRB’s Stand on Joint Employment

The NLRB applied a joint employment rule implemented during the Trump administration to Google’s case, stating that businesses must exercise direct control over workers to be obliged to negotiate with unions. They observed that Google directly supervises Cognizant-provided workers and controls their working hours and benefits.

In light of this latest ruling, its impact on Google’s standing could potentially affect its NASDAQ market performance and lead traders to adjust their strategies regarding Alphabet stock accordingly.

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