Sundar Pichai is CEO of Google-owned Alphabet. Brandon Wade/Reuters
Google employees wrote an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai asking for a better handling of layoffs.
They demanded that dismissed employees be personally notified so that they can say goodbye to colleagues.
Read the letter to which more than 1,400 workers wrote their names.
In an open letter to Sundar Pichai, Google employees called for better handling of his mass layoffs.
They want the company to consider freezing new hires, prioritizing laid-off workers for job openings, and letting employees end scheduled vacations like maternity leave and bereavement leave.
Commenting on the global layoffs, the letter, signed by more than 1,400 workers, said: “Nowhere have workers’ voices been given due consideration and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone.”
Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, emailed employees Jan. 20 that the company was cutting about 12,000 jobs and that he “takes full responsibility for the decisions that got us here.”
Since then, laid-off Googlers have shared their stories of losing their jobs. A husband said he and his wife stared at each other “in disbelief” after learning they had both been fired. And a former Google employee told Insider he lost his job while on nursing leave to care for his terminally ill mother.
A Google employee who survived the cuts told Insider that some who kept their jobs cried during meetings on the day the layoffs were announced.
Google and the Alphabet Workers Union did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside of normal business hours.
Here is the text of the letter:
The impact of Alphabet’s decision to reduce its workforce is global. Nowhere have workers’ voices been given due consideration and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone. This is how we come together around the world to be heard.
Specifically, we ask you for the following public commitment:
1) Freeze all new hires during the layoff process. Before making redundancies for operational reasons, first demand voluntary terminations and voluntary reductions in working hours. Facilitate the exchange of employees to further avoid redundancies.
2) Grant priority reinstatement to all Alphabet employees who have recently been fired. Prioritize internal transfer options, prioritize access to jobs without the need for a re-interview, and agree to fair severance pay.
3) Protect our employees from countries with active conflicts or humanitarian crises (such as Ukraine, Russia, etc.). Do not terminate employment if doing so would affect Visa, which could result in workers having to return to unsafe or unstable countries. Provide additional support for these and workers at risk of losing their residence permit: help with finding a job – internally and externally – and provide sufficient leave for gardening.
4) Respect planned leave of absence (maternity, baby bonding, caring and bereavement) and do not cancel until leave is complete. Terminated employees will be notified personally and given the opportunity to say goodbye to their colleagues.
5) Ensure there are no discriminatory effects based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic identity, caste, veteran status, religion, and disability.
We urge you, and Alphabet generally, to make these critical public commitments. Our company has long promoted a commitment to doing the right thing by its users and employees, and those commitments will demonstrate Alphabet’s adherence to the last line of its Code of Conduct: Do not be angry.
We know that this is within your means and ability to achieve.
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