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Watch the Moment 43 Unionized YouTube Contractors Were All Laid Off

2 hours 22 minutes ago
An anonymous Slashdot reader shared this report from The Washington: A YouTube contractor was addressing the Austin City Council on Thursday, calling on them to urge Google to negotiate with his union, when a colleague interrupted him with jaw-dropping news: His 43-person team of contractors had all been laid off... The YouTube workers, who work for Google and Cognizant, unanimously voted to unionize under the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA in April 2023. Since then, the workers say that Google has refused to bargain with them. Thursday's layoff signifies continued tensions between Google and its workers, some of whom in 2021 formed a union... Workers had about 20 minutes to gather their belongings and leave the premises before they were considered trespassing. Video footage of the moment is embedded at the top of the article. "I was speechless, shocked," said the contractor who'd been speaking. He told the Washington Post "I didn't know what to do. But angered, that was the main feeling." The council meeting was streaming live online and has since spread on social media. The contractors view the layoff as retaliation for unionizing, but Google and information technology subcontractor Cognizant said it was the normal end of a business contract. The ability for layoffs to spread over social media highlights how the painful experience of a job loss is frequently being made public, from employees sharing recordings of Zoom meetings to posting about their unemployment. The increasing tension between YouTube's contractors and Google comes as massive layoffs continue to hit the tech industry — leaving workers uneasy and companies emboldened. Google already has had rounds of cuts the past two years. Google has been in a long-running battle with many of its contractors as they seek the perks and high pay that full-time Google workers are accustomed to. The company has tens of thousands of contractors doing everything from food service to sales to writing code... Google maintains that Cognizant is responsible for the contractors' employment and working conditions, and therefore isn't responsible for bargaining with them. Cognizant said it is offering the workers seven weeks of paid time to explore other roles at the company and use its training resources. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Cognizant and Google are joint employers of the contractors. In January, the NLRB sent a cease-and-desist letter to both employers for failing to bargain with the union. Since then the issue of joint employment, which would ultimately determine which company is responsible for bargaining, has landed in an appeals court and has yet to be ruled on. "Workers say they don't have sick pay, receive minimal benefits and are paid as little as $19 an hour," according to the article, "forcing some to work multiple jobs to make ends meet." Sam Regan, a data analyst contractor for YouTube Music, told the Washington Post that he was one of the last workers to leave the meeting where the layoffs were announced. "Upon leaving, he heard one of the security guards call the non-emergency police line to report trespassers."

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EditorDavid

Threads' API Is Coming in June

3 hours 22 minutes ago
In 2005 Gabe Rivera was a compiler software engineer at Intel — before starting the tech-news aggregator Techmeme. And last year his Threads profile added the words "This is a little self-serving, but I want all social networks to be as open as possible." Friday Threads engineer Jesse Chen posted that it was Rivera's post when Threads launched asking for an API that "convinced us to go for it." And Techmeme just made its first post using the API, according to Chen. The Verge reports : Threads plans to release its API by the end of June after testing it with a limited set of partners, including Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, Social News Desk, and Techmeme. The API will let developers build third-party apps for Threads and allow sites to publish directly to the platform. More from TechCrunch: Engineer Jesse Chen posted that the company has been building the API for the past few months. The API currently allows users to authenticate, publish threads and fetch the content they post through these tools. "Over the past few months, we've been building the Threads API to enable creators, developers, and brands to manage their Threads presence at scale and easily share fresh, new ideas with their communities from their favorite third-party applications," he said... The engineer added that Threads is looking to add more capabilities to APIs for moderation and insights gathering.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EditorDavid