According to Bloomberg, on Saturday, more than 1,400 employees of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. signed a petition calling for the business to treat workers better during the layoff process. This follows Alphabet’s announcement that it will lay off some 12,000 employees. Employees asked many things from the corporation in an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, including a block on new hires, asking for voluntary redundancies before mandatory ones, giving laid-off workers preference for available positions, and allowing them to complete paid time off schedules.
“The repercussions of Alphabet’s choice to downsize its personnel are global,” the letter stated. Workers’ voices have not been sufficiently taken into account anywhere, and we are aware that our collective strength is greater than our individual one. As a result, we are banding together globally to be heard.
“Freeze all new recruits during the layoff process,” the letter requested. Before implementing mandatory layoffs, request voluntary redundancies and working-time reductions. To further prevent forced layoffs, permit employee “swaps”. Any newly laid-off Alphabet employees should have precedence when being rehired. Emphasize internal transfer opportunities, prioritize access to positions without a second interview, and accept a reasonable severance payout.
“Shield our employees from nations where there are open wars or humanitarian catastrophes” (such as Ukraine, Russia, etc.) Avoid terminating employment when it would have a negative impact on visas, since doing so would force workers to return to unrest-prone or dangerous nations. The letter continued: “Provide these individuals and workers who face losing their work authorization additional support, including assistance with internal and external job searches and enough time off for gardening.
Respect scheduled leaves (maternity, baby bonding, caregiver’s, and grief) and wait to provide notice until the leave is over, the letter continued. Those who get notice will be informed personally and given the chance to say farewell to their coworkers.
Also, the workers urged Alphabet to refrain from laying off personnel from nations that are now embroiled in war or experiencing humanitarian crises, such as Ukraine, and to extend additional assistance to individuals who would lose both their jobs and their visa-linked residence.
Alphabet said in January that it would be laying off around 6% of its personnel. CEO Pichai had stated during the announcement that the company had hired for a “different economic reality than the one we confront today.” This came following announcements of a similar nature from other significant tech companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta.
The letter, which developed from a Discord channel chat, was coordinated by a group of employees with the help of unions like the Alphabet Workers Union, United Tech and Allied Workers, and UNI Global, according to a Bloomberg article. Before handing Pichai a tangible copy of the petition, the groups intend to distribute it for a couple more days.
“We urge you and Alphabet more broadly to make these essential public promises,” the letter to the CEO of Google read. These promises will demonstrate Alphabet’s adherence to the last line of its Code of Conduct: Don’t Be Evil. Our company has long bragged about its dedication to upholding the rights of its customers and employees. We are aware that you have the resources and capacity to complete this.