Germany's powerful IG Metall trade union is organizing Youtubers to force Google to play fair

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This is one of the most hopeful developments I’ve seen in ages. We need to see creative work and gig work as real work, worthy of protections and we need some of the larger trade unions to adapt to the changes in the past few decades of work.


That would never happen in The Land of The Free (Corporation).

First we would need “Europe’s broad privacy laws and Germany’s broad labor laws.”


Well, say so long to YouTube Germany at least as far as being able to monetizing videos goes.

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The strongest tool a union has is to strike (the threat of which my union just used to get a wage increase from my employer). Is that meaningful in the case of YouTube? They get an infinite amount of video added every day.


IG Metall is a union that is desperate to get a foot into the door of the “digital economy”. It’s not entirely clear why YouTubers should be part of the same union as car assembly line workers but IG Metall presumably doesn’t mind additional due-paying members. Neither is it clear why “Germany’s broad labor laws” would be applicable in this situation since “YouTubers” are not YouTube’s employees.

Whether this will have any actual effect other than a temporary PR blip is up in the air – the equally “powerful” German service-industry union, ver.di, has for the longest time been trying to get Amazon to pay its employees retail-industry wages rather than (lower) logistics-industry wages, with no discernible result. Especially since YouTube doesn’t have much of an official presence in Germany, their best strategy for the time being seems to be to sit tight. What are the “YouTubers” going to do, go on strike?

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This fight reminds me of something… fighting against algorithm managers?

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At the end of the day YouTube can’t force companies to buy ads on content they don’t like. The EU signed off on automated copyright filtering and requiring people to opt in to Google’s tracking for targeted ads. Europeans also have some of the highest rates of ad block useage. Making a living on ad revenue is tough just ask the newspapers.

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While going with IGM instead of Verdi is questionable, an easy unionizing process for Youtubers worldwide would be a start.
The only real thread though would be getting a critical mass(tbd) with lots of high level youtubers to unionize and declaring to move to another platform after deleting all unionized content from Youtube.
Pretty sure that’s never gonna happen though.


That is so Metall !!


Given how far right and anti-union some of those big youtubers are, it could certainly be a struggle. I can’t really see PewDiePie, Jordan Peterson, Sargon or Dude Perfect throwing in their weight to help the little fish.

Youtubers can take down their videos voluntarily in protest. Youtube would have nothing without content. If a few major channels went dark, people would start to pay attention, and I suspect work with the producers, especially if there are off-youtube ways of connecting with their favorite content producers.

At the end of the day YouTube has forced companies to buy ads on content they don’t like, buying sediment and selling ammonia vapors with the help of clades of ad scum. Watchable stuff comes in on little cat feet and banhammers to make Vevo look good in waves.

Someone> The strongest weapon the Union has is the strike.

Yeah, something that took over a week to prove more expensive in incident fees and training costs and other scrutiny has been beat since then; mobile interchangeable professions, first mover advantage, promise of scale, house services (maintenance, building, hostelry) that don’t suck…choose any 2 of some?

Gig work = piece work. Paid by the piece; For decades it’s been completely unacceptable to workers. Suddenly it needs to be seen as “real work”.

Oh Puhlease!

I wouldn’t want to mess with Mr. Slingshot. He’s right too.

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