- Google employees wrote an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai asking for better handling of layoffs.
- They demanded laid-off staff be notified in person, allowing them to say goodbye to coworkers.
- Read the letter that more than 1,400 workers have put their names to.
Google employees have used an open letter to Sundar Pichai to demand better handling of its mass layoffs.
They want the company to consider freezing new hires and prioritize laid-off workers for job vacancies, as well as let employees finish scheduled leave, such as parental and bereavement leave.
The letter, signed by more than 1,400 workers, said of the global layoffs: “Nowhere have workers’ voices adequately been considered, and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone.”
Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, emailed staff on January 20 to say the company was cutting about 12,000 jobs and that he took “full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”
Since then, laid-off Googlers have shared their stories about losing their jobs. A husband said he and his wife stared at each other in “disbelief” after learning they’d both been laid off. And a former Google employee told Insider he lost his job while on carers’ leave looking after his terminally-ill mom.
One Googler who survived the cuts told Insider that some who kept their jobs cried during meetings the day the layoffs were announced.
Google and Alphabet Workers Union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.
Here’s the text of the letter:
The impacts of Alphabet’s decision to reduce its workforce are global. Nowhere have workers’ voices adequately been considered, and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone. We are thus coming together across the world to be heard.
Specifically we are asking for the following public commitments from you:
1) Freeze all new hires during the layoff process. First ask for voluntary redundancies and voluntary working time reduction before compulsory layoffs. Allow for employee ‘swaps’ to further avoid compulsory redundancies.
2) Grant priority rehire to any Alphabet employees that have been recently laid off. Prioritize internal transfer options, prioritized access to jobs without the need to re-interview and agree to a fair severance package.
3) Protect our co-workers from countries with active conflicts or humanitarian crises (such as Ukraine, Russia, etc). Do not terminate employment when it would adversely affect visas, which could require workers to return to unsafe or unstable countries. Provide extra support to these and workers at risk of residence permit loss: help with job searches—internal and external—and provide adequate gardening leave.
4) Respect scheduled leaves (Maternity, Baby Bonding, Carer’s and Bereavement) and do not give notice until the leave is finished. Workers given notice will be notified in-person and will be given the opportunity to say good-bye to their coworkers.
5) Ensure there will be no discriminatory effects based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic identity, caste, veteran status, religion, and disability.
We call on you and Alphabet more broadly to make these critical public commitments. Our company has long touted its commitment to doing right by its users and workers, and these commitments will show Alphabet adhering to the final line of its Code of Conduct: Don’t Be Evil.
We know this is within your means and your ability to accomplish.
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