If you’re going down, you might as well do it fighting.
A collection of WeWork employees sent that message loud and clear on Nov. 8 with the publication of an open letter criticizing their soon-to-be former employer of greed, corruption, and deception. Following the aborted IPO and September ouster of cofounder Adam Neumann, along with the promised restructuring by SoftBank, the employees see the writing on the wall — and are doing something about.
The letter, which the New York Times reports was signed by over 150 employees, demands that the thousands of employees facing layoffs be given severance and provided with health insurance. It also highlights the absurd $1.7 billion payout received by Neumann, calling it “graft.”
“This story is one of deception, exclusion and selfishness playing out at the company’s highest levels,” reads the letter.
The group says it’s formed a coalition dubbed the WeWork Coalition.
“We are taking full advantage of our legal right to establish this coalition,” continues the letter, “and in doing so, we hope to give the future employees of WeWork the voice we never had.”
In the medium term, employees need a seat at the table so the company can address a broader range of issues. We’ve seen what can happen when leadership makes decisions while employees have no voice. We will need to see more transparency and more accountability.
— WeWorkers Coalition (@WeWorkersCo) November 8, 2019
We reached out to the WeWork Coalition in an attempt to determine what response, if any, it’s received from WeWork leadership. We did not receive an immediate response. The New York Times reports the letter was delivered to management on Tuesday.
“We are not the Adam Neumanns of this world — we are a diverse work force with rents to pay, households to support and children to raise,” the letter adds. “We are asking to be treated with humanity and dignity so we can continue living life while searching to make a living elsewhere.”
WeWork, for its part, claims to be listening.
“Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure cares deeply about our employees and treating those who are laid off as part of the restructuring fairly, with dignity and respect,” wrote a WeWork spokesperson over email. “Our restructuring will include fair severance packages and continuation of benefits to help employees with successful career transitions.”
What that statement actually means when the rubber hits the road, however, remains to be seen. Perhaps, as WeWork executives take their time to figure out the specifics, they can keep their employees’ words in mind.