Awaiting Layoffs, WeWork Employees Say Founder’s Payout is ‘Graft’

In the latest sign of worker activism in tech companies and start-ups, a group of employees at the struggling office-space giant WeWork are calling on management to treat workers humanely as the company prepares to lay off thousands, and to give workers a say in corporate decisions and policies.

Alluding to the controversies that have dogged the company and its co-founder Adam Neumann, the workers said in a letter to management that they were seeking to restore values they say top executives disregarded. Under an exit package worth around $1 billion, Mr. Neumann agreed last month to give up control of WeWork.

“We don’t want to be defined by the scandals, the corruption, and the greed exhibited by the company’s leadership,” the group, which calls itself the WeWorkers Coalition, wrote. “We want to leave behind a legacy that represents the true character and intentions of WeWork employees.”

WeWork leases office space, refurbishes it and then rents it out to customers. As it has expanded across the world at breakneck speed, the company’s costs have far exceeded its revenue. The company is now trying to shut down or sell noncore businesses, withdraw from unprofitable markets and cut its work force, which totaled more than 12,500 employees at the end of June.

Facing a cash crunch, WeWork secured a multibillion-dollar bailout last month from SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, which is its largest outside investor. Marcelo Claure, a SoftBank executive who was appointed WeWork’s executive chairman, is overseeing the restructuring. Earlier, in September, WeWork withdrew an initial public offering after investors balked at

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Business.

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