Especially not when some creators are actually attempting to unionize – a difficult task, but one a Germany-based organization dubbed YouTubers Union is willing to have a go at.
This group focuses on several problematic issues that creators face on the platform, with the 2017 “Adpocalypse” being the main catalyst behind the decision to establish it.
In the past, Google flat-out refused to talk to YouTubers Union, led by creator Joerg Sprave, whose channel has more than 2 million subscribers. However, there seemed to be some movement on the issue, with a meeting planned between Google and YouTube representatives with those from the FairTube campaign, that Sprave is also behind.
The meeting was to take place in Berlin on October 22, but FairTube decided to cancel it after Google refused to accept Sprave’s presence, calling him “not representative of YouTubers.”
In a video (see below) posted on his channel announcing the news, Sprave appears together with Christiane Benner of IG Metal – Germany’s biggest union that has thrown its weight behind YouTubers Union.
They accuse Google of unwillingness to accept any representatives of YouTuber Union as participants in the conversation, and of showing contempt for creators who made the video platform’s massive success possible in the first place.
Google claims to want to improve people’s lives by making the world’s information accessible, Benner said, but added that this “apparently does not include YouTube creators.”
On the contrary, Google has “closed the door in their faces,” she said.
“This is not the action of a progressive, 21st-century organization, but of a digital dinosaur with 21st-century technology and a 19th-century management style,” Benner said.
Sprave said they hoped Google would change its mind – at the same time announcing “a variety of actions” in case this doesn’t happen. Not least of all legal, as Benner explained.
IG Metal’s second chairwoman recalled that EU’s GDPR protections allows citizens access to their personal data collected by the likes of Google – adding that anybody who wants to obtain this data from the tech giant will have the organization’s support.
“The labels YouTube uses to classify videos and creators are personal data. And if there is no other way, we will demand these classifications in court,” Benner said.
There is also the suspicion that some YouTubers are not self-employed but are in fact employees.
“We will find out in court,” she said.