Senator Bernie Sanders has expressed solidarity with workers at Google parent company Alphabet, who went on strike over royalty payments for YouTube Music on Monday. The workers, who are represented by the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), claim that Alphabet has not provided adequate compensation for musicians who use the video-sharing platform. Sanders tweeted his support, writing, “I stand in solidarity with Alphabet workers who are fighting for fair compensation for YouTube Music.” The Vermont senator, who is a frequent critic of large tech companies, has previously called for higher wages and better working conditions for tech workers.
The AWU, which was founded last year, is the first union to represent workers at a major tech company in the United States. It has been pushing for greater rights and protections for workers at Alphabet, including better compensation and benefits, greater job security, and a more democratic workplace. The union has also been critical of Alphabet’s business practices, including its use of contractors and its relationship with governments around the world.
The strike, which took place on Monday, involved several hundred workers at Google offices in California and other locations. The workers staged a walkout and held a rally outside Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. The strike was part of a broader campaign by the AWU to pressure Alphabet to improve conditions for workers and to recognize the union.
The dispute over royalty payments for YouTube Music is just the latest example of tensions between tech companies and their workers over issues of compensation and working conditions. As more workers in the tech industry organize and join unions, these issues are likely to become more prominent in the public discourse. Sanders’ support for the AWU is an indication of the growing political pressure on tech companies to address the concerns of their workers and to take a more responsible approach to labor relations.