YouTubers Union has big demands. Google won't negotiate – CNET

The YouTube logo on display in the lobby of YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California.

Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

After a year and a half of waiting, the YouTubers Union demanded YouTube respond to its complaints by Friday or one of the world's biggest traditional labor unions would take the video site and parent company Google to court. Hours before the deadline, Google answered: The company will meet, but it won't negotiate.

"We explained to the union in great detail what YouTube is doing in terms of transparency and support for YouTubers. But we have also made clear that we are not going to negotiate their demands," a YouTube representative said. 

According to the unions, the company invited them to meet at Google's Berlin office to "discuss some fundamental questions about the future of work." Jörg Sprave, the founder of and spokesman for the YouTube Union, said the unions will accept the invitation. 

"We did not ask them to bow to our demands within the deadline, we just asked them to enter into talks with us. They did that, so we are very happy with our campaign success so far. But of course there is plenty of work ahead of us," Sprave said in an email. "The clock is paused, not stopped."

Last month, the YouTubers Union has joined forces with one of the biggest traditional labor unions in the world to launch a campaign pressuring the massive video site to enter official negotiations. Demanding YouTube and parent company Google to address complaints of frustrated YouTube creators, they set Friday as the deadline for Google and YouTube to respond or they'd move their complaints to court. 

Until last month, the YouTubers Union was mostly a loose association of about 20,000 members who joined a Facebook group, and it hadn't triggered much attention from Google or among the 2 billion people who visit YouTube monthly. But in August, it joined forces with IG Metall, one of the biggest and oldest labor unions in the world. With deep resources, legal expertise and a track record on labor issues, IG Metall gave the YouTubers Union the kind of legitimacy and urgency to command more attention -- include Google's.

"The pressure we put on Google and YouTube together with the YouTubers Union has paid off," Christiane Benner, the second chairwoman of IG Metall, said in the post announcing the development to YouTubers Union members. "We succeeded in bringing Google to the table. We are looking forward to the talks and want a quick appointment. There we will see what changes YouTube is prepared to make."

Originally published Aug. 23, 6:51 a.m. PT. 
Update, 8:18 a.m. PT: With YouTube response. 

YouTubers Union has big demands. Google won't negotiate     - CNET

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