The ongoing layoffs across major technology companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta, worry employees about their future in the company. Recently, Google announced it will be laying off massive 12,000 employees from its workforce amid fears of an oncoming recession.
In response to the uncertainty of their job, Google employees have written an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding some actions from the company before it considers layoffs.
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.