Elon Musk Twitter Takeover: Fired workers speak out amid lawsuit

Twitter is facing a class-action lawsuit just one week after a takeover by tech billionaire Elon Musk, as sacked staff begin to mobilise.

Employees were abruptly locked out of their company Slack and email accounts and barred from going into the office ahead of the mass lay-offs of Friday (US time).

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The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court after the company notified employees it would terminate the employment of 3,700 workers – half its workforce.

Ex-employees have already gone public in the wake of the sweeping mass firing – which is also understood to have affected Australian-based staff.

One of the thousands to be fired was Gerard Cohen, an Engineering Manager for the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter.

He took to the platform to honour the rest of the engineering team, who were also fired.

“So, the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter is no longer,” he said.

“We had so much more to do, but we worked hard.

“There aren’t very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission.

“I hate the way this ended, but I’m so very proud of everything we were able to accomplish together. Now I have other places to help make accessible.” Mr Cohen concluded.

Rachel Bonn, a marketing manager at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, said she had lost laptop access despite being eight months pregnant, even as she raises a 9-month-old child.

Rumman Chowdhury, whose LinkedIn account noted her title was director of machine learning ethics at Twitter, posted a screenshot showing a failed log-in attempt on her work account.

Twitter’s head of internal communications, Julie Steele, also indicated she had been laid off.

“Twitter is so special. After 4 yrs, I’m leaving with the fullest [heart], experiences I never imagined, and unbreakable bonds with so many Tweeps,” Steele tweeted. “My head is held high, knowing I gave it my absolute all. @TwitterComms: We have so much to be proud of. Time to fly even higher!”

Another engineer, Tim Kettering, shared some parting words.

“It was a great run while it lasted. Love to all my fellow Tweeps. PS Elon, come take your dumb laptop. It’s not paying rent anymore,” he said.

Another fired engineer, Andrew Hayward, claimed TwitterA11y [Twitter Accessibility – the team in charge of making Twitter accessible for everyone] was “defunct” after the team was gutted.

“It brings me no great pleasure to say that, for all intents and purposes,

[Twitter Accessibility] is defunct. I wish it wasn’t – there was so much we had planned – but here we are,” he said.

Trust and Safety member at Twitter Andrew Briercliffe was another casualty.

“Well, what a ride it’s been. But alas, it appears I’m one of the unfortunate ones at Twitter,” he posted on his LinkedIn account.

“Many amazing colleagues and friends during my time and getting to work on the worst content from a different perspective.”

“Team members may be laid off, but the work continues, and I applaud those having to work even harder now trying to tackle this issue.”

Twitter’s Global Tech and Policy Communications leader, Anna Hughes, said she had “no regrets” about her time at Twitter while breaking the news of her termination.

“I was laid off from Twitter last night, along with thousands of other dedicated, creative, hardworking people,” she said.

“I have no regrets about my decision to take a leap and join the company during a time of such change and uncertainty.”

“If you’ve posted a meme in the past couple of weeks celebrating or mocking the fact that thousands of people at Twitter are losing their jobs: 1) Take a good hard look in the mirror and 2) Do not call yourself my friend,” she concluded.

Another worker in the communications branch, Joseph J. Nuñez, praised Twitter employees for their resilience.

“Tweeps are the most resilient, inclusive, smart, funny, open and sharp individuals I have ever experienced in any company,’ he said

“And our Twitter Communications team is no different – their strategic input, empathy, creativity, and willingness to show up at 100 per cent every single day no matter what was deeply motivating.”

It alleges that employees weren’t given enough notice of the mass lay-offs in violation of federal and California law.

The impending class action seeks an order requiring the social media platform to obey the WARN Act — the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a federal law requiring companies with 100 or more workers to give 60 days’ notice of mass lay-offs or other work disruptions.

The suit also wants the court to restrict Twitter from soliciting staffers to sign documents that could give up their right to participate in litigation.

“We filed this lawsuit tonight in an attempt to make sure that employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, told Bloomberg.

Australian staff, which number about 50, are affected as well as those at the San Francisco headquarters and other offices globally.

Elon Musk slashing jobs at Twitter to avoid $700M loss next year: sources

Elon Musk’s drastic decision to lay off half of Twitter’s workforce on Friday was driven by the company’s dire finances — with the now-private company on track to lose $700 million in 2023 if he hadn’t slashed costs, The Post has learned.

While the struggling social network posted a modest loss last year, interest payments on the massive trove of debt that Musk used to finance the $44 billion buyout deal will unleash a torrent of red ink at the struggling social network in the coming year, sources close to the situation said.

Specifically, Twitter will be forced to pay interest expenses on its nearly $13 billion in new loans that will amount to $1.3 billion per year, one banker close to the situation said. That’s more than Twitter’s typical yearly yield of $1.2 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA — a key measure of profitability used by Wall Street.

“The interest expense is higher than the EBITDA,” a banker close to the deal said. “That’s why he is laying people off.”

On top of the punishing interest payments, Twitter typically spent about $600 million on capital expenditures, a banker said. Subtract the interest and capital expenditures from Twitter’s EBITDA and the company is $700 million in the red. It’s a classic nightmare scenario in the world of leveraged buyouts, sources added — with workers getting stiffed even as top execs at the company who pushed for the overpriced deal are angling for massive payouts. Those include ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, who was set to bag $38.7 million before Musk fired him “for cause” in an apparent bid to thwart the payout.

With the New York Post

Originally published as The faces of Twitter’s fired thousands

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