Awaiting Layoffs, WeWork Employees Seek a ‘Seat at the Table’

Mr. Friedman mentioned his first trace that the firm’s management won’t be practising the values it preached got here at a firm “summer camp” retreat in the English countryside in 2018. He recalled that almost all rank-and-file staff roughed it in small tents on a fairground, which turned a muddy mess in the rain. Mr. Neumann stayed in a massive luxurious tent.

“It was like a physical manifestation of the power imbalance,” Mr. Friedman mentioned.

He mentioned his considerations about Mr. Neumann had been solidified in current months, amid studies that the firm had spent $60 million shopping for a personal jet and that Mr. Neumann had purchased a number of mansions.

In the letter, staff say their considerations transcend the coming layoffs. The coalition desires extra enter into how the firm is managed as a result of “we’ve seen what can happen when leadership makes decisions while employees have no voice,” although it doesn’t elaborate on its most popular method of influencing administration.

The group says it additionally desires to make sure that the firm responds appropriately to accusations of sexual misconduct, will increase range and eliminates the requirement that workers resolve claims in opposition to the firm by arbitration fairly than in court docket.

Last week, a former WeWork worker filed a criticism in opposition to the firm and Mr. Neumann contending that she had been discriminated in opposition to for turning into pregnant and taking maternity depart. The criticism, filed by Medina Bardhi, who labored as Mr. Neumann’s chief of employees, mentioned he had referred to her maternity depart as a “vacation” or “retirement.” The firm has mentioned it’s going to defend itself in opposition to the criticism.

In their willingness to make collective calls for, the staff seem to echo the actions of workers at a number of tech firms, together with Microsoft, Amazon and Google, the place 20,000 workers walked off the job final fall to protest the firm’s dealing with of sexual harassment. After the protests, Google agreed to finish compelled arbitration for worker disputes.

Members of the WeWorkers Coalition say they obtained recommendation from staff at the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, who’ve been making an attempt to unionize. But according to staff at different firms, like Google, they are saying it might be extra sensible for them to interact in collective motion with out first making an attempt to create a union.

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