Employees at WeWork — which last month gave its ousted CEO Adam Neumann a $1.7 billion golden parachute — are demanding “fair and reasonable separation terms” as they brace for layoffs.
More than 150 workers at the office subleasing company said in a letter they are banding together after witnessing “deception, exclusion and selfishness playing out at the company’s highest levels.”
Pointing to Neumann’s 10-figure payday and $46 million annual “consulting fee,” the letter casts its demands as reasonable by comparison.
“We are not asking for this level of graft,” the letter says. “We are not the Adam Neumanns of this world — we are a diverse workforce with rents to pay, households to support and children to raise.”
Members of the group calling itself the WeWork Coalition — who have watched WeWork’s valuation plummet from $47 billion to $8 billion as revelations about Neumann’s self-dealing came to light — write that they want management to make sure they are taken care of.
“Thousands of us will be laid off in the coming weeks,” according to the letter, which was first reported by the New York Times. “But we want our time here to have meant something. We don’t want to be defined by the scandals, the corruption, and the greed exhibited by the company’s leadership.”
Chief among the demands is severance “commensurate with their contributions, including severance pay, continuation of company-paid health insurance and compensation for lost equity.”
Demands also include assurances of full benefits and fair pay for workers who clean and maintain WeWork’s buildings, as well as management taking allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment seriously.
WeWork did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, former WeWork employee Natalie Sojka sued Nuemann and the company’s board of directors for botching plans to go public, resulting in the company being sold at “fire-sale” prices to its biggest investor, Japan’s Softbank.
The IPO was shelved following reports of Neumann’s alleged self-dealing, erratic behavior and drug use, including a story about a trans-Atlantic private jet trip that allegedly resulted in the crew finding a “sizable chunk” of marijuana hidden in a cereal box on board.
WeWork called the proposed class-action filed in San Francisco state court “meritless.”