Nov 23, 2019
Last night, WeWork made an abrupt change to the employment status of the building and maintenance staff who just last week were told that they had to accept job offers from WeWork’s chosen contractors or else would be considered to have voluntarily resigned from their jobs.
It seems that WeWork now recognizes that its actions were unfair and potentially unlawful. Last night, after regular business hours and without any mention at the all-hands meeting on Friday, WeWork notified a portion of its New York staff of the changes by email.
The “employment transition notification” stated that if they reject or rescind acceptance of JLL/ABM/Unity job offers then they will remain employed by WeWork until February 20, 2020, receiving their full salary and benefits, and will be eligible for unemployment as of that date.
The notice also suggests that they do not have to report to work. We advise all building and maintenance employees (CSA/BCA/Facilities) to contact their managers as soon as possible to confirm these conditions.
This 90 day “leave” period is aimed at complying with the New York state WARN Act, a law that requires 90 days notice is given to employees involved in a mass layoff. The federal WARN Act is more restrictive, which may be why WeWork is not offering these benefits everywhere.
This group of workers will effectively receive something similar to what the WeWorkers Coalition originally requested: three months of pay and benefits, the opportunity to freely choose their next employer and eligibility for unemployment benefits.
Also, after the WeWorkers Coalition revealed that this group of workers would not receive a 401k matching contribution from WeWork, the company later communicated to some employees that they would receive a lump sum payment which would be the equivalent of the 401k match.
We are pleased to see this improvement in the benefits that some workers in New York will receive as WeWork takes precautions to comply with state and federal laws. However, we believe that all workers in New York and throughout the U.S. are deserving of these same benefits.
We also believe that the WARN notice itself was not compliant with the law. You can read the notice WeWork sent here and compare to the legal requirements here.
The notice was delivered on a Friday night and gave workers until Monday to act. The content of the notice is difficult to understand, and the email was not identified as “urgent,” as required by law. We have raised these and other concerns with the Department of Labor.
Unfortunately, we have already been contacted by multiple workers who do not understand the notice and are unsure what actions to take in the next three days.
The WeWorkers Coalition will be contacting affected employees this weekend to clarify the letter’s message: that they can reject or rescind acceptance of the job offers and receive 3 months of leave with full pay and benefits, but that they should act by Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.
We believe these changes wouldn’t have happened if workers didn’t come together and speak out against unfair treatment. We think this shows that real change can happen when workers demand it. Thank you for supporting us and amplifying our voice.
The WeWorkers Coalition
@weworkersco · firstname.lastname@example.org