Laureta, who has worked as a single mother and housekeeper at the Twitter offices in New York for years, wants to know how Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world and the new owner of the social media giant, is ruining Christmas.
Like other janitors on Twitter and many other employees at the troubled company, which has laid off thousands of workers, he said he received no explanation for the sudden layoff.
“I was very happy to work for Twitter. I was able to pay my bills, I was able to get a nanny for my children. Now this is a nightmare for me. I don’t know how to do it or what will happen,” said Laureta, who did not want her last name used for fear of future employment consequences. “There was no explanation. We worked on Monday the 19th and got the message that night. It was a shock just before Christmas. We didn’t have a good holiday. Happy New Year, not Christmas, we were thinking about our work and coming back.”
She said she had to try to explain what had happened to her six-year-old son and try to calm his anxiety about food because he had been fired. She has no income and will lose her and her children’s health insurance as long as she works at the end of this month.
“I want to get back to work and I want to know why Elon Musk is getting rid of us,” he said. “It’s wrong for Elon Musk to leave me and all my colleagues.”
He is one of 12 gatekeepers protesting Twitter’s decision to fire all gatekeepers employed by the social media company’s contractor Flagship Services at its 245-249 West 17th St. location in New York, the latest Twitter layoffs since Musk. He took over the company on October 27, 2022.
On January 10, the labor union, 32BJ SEIU, protested Outside Twitter’s New York offices, they are demanding an explanation and their jobs back.
The workers received a notification from Twitter on the evening of December 19 that their contract with their employer and their jobs had been terminated. They say that in previous cases where the contractor has been changed, Twitter has retained the same employees who have worked at Twitter since 2015.
Another janitor, Merita, who has worked at Twitter’s New York offices since it opened in 2015, also criticized the layoffs, particularly the impact of losing the health insurance she relied on for the stomach medication she regularly required.
“We were told at the last moment at work. We didn’t know anything. It was a shock to us. “We left the building crying because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Merita. “It’s quite difficult because we live paycheck to paycheck to pay the bills. We are so afraid of losing health insurance. I take medicine. We need health insurance, so we have to fight for our jobs to have our union and health care and everything.
In early December, Twitter suddenly laid off cleaning staff at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. David Chiu, a San Francisco city attorney, said he was investigating whether Twitter violated the law with the sudden layoffs because of laws that require employers to keep workers for at least 90 days when switching between contractors.
Twitter has laid off nearly half of its employees since Musk’s takeover, a practice that has prompted numerous lawsuits or arbitration requests.
The termination notice provided to the cleaners did not include any explanation for the sudden termination of the contract with Flagship Services or information on how these employees would be replaced.
“Twitter’s decision to cancel the cleaning contract for its New York office has changed the lives of these dedicated cleaners, many of whom have been working at the location since Twitter moved seven years ago. NYC’s top cleaners have done so much for this city to be treated this way,” Denis Johnston, 32BJ SEIU executive vice president and commercial division director, said in a statement about the job cuts.
“They put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of workers and the public during the pandemic, and they are essential to the economic recovery of the city after the pandemic. “These union members and their families are now facing extreme hardship as they lose their well-paying jobs with quality health insurance.”
Twitter and Flagship Services Inc did not immediately respond to requests for comment.