More than 1,400 Google employees have signed an open letter to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, demanding better handling of the company’s recent mass layoffs.
The letter urged the company to prioritize laid-off workers for job vacancies and to freeze new hires. The employees also called on the company to allow laid-off workers to complete their scheduled leave, such as parental and bereavement leave.
The letter criticized the company for not adequately considering the voices of workers in the decision-making process.
On January 20, Pichai announced that the company was cutting around 12,000 jobs and took full responsibility for the decision. However, since then, stories have emerged of employees losing their jobs, including one husband and wife who were both laid off.
A former Google employee shared how he lost his job while on carers’ leave looking after his terminally ill mom.
One employee who survived the layoffs reported that some who kept their jobs cried during meetings on the day the layoffs were announced. The Google and Alphabet Workers Union have yet to comment on the situation. Insider requested comments from them but received no response outside of normal working hours.
The text of the letter is below:
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.