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hot take the tech layoffs are as much about investor appeasement as they are a shot across the bow to the incipient tech labour movement pass it on

@beep @phire When compensation is stock-based, execs bend with the chill breeze and drop folks from the basket, lest the whole balloon ground out.

You can ignore stock market weather if you have a pile of cash, management resolve, and a reason folks stay with your company regardless.

@jmeowmeow @beep @phire To @phire point, every, single, corporate activity is about investor appeasement. It's really become gross, pathetic, and bourgeoise. They don't care about customers, consumers, nor employees, only investors.

us economy 

@phire it sure does seem like large corporations can excuse a lot of activity under the fear of the recession we've been hearing about for over a year but never manages to arrive.

@peterme @phire investors love a good shot across the bow to the labor movement.

@phire spiderman-pointing-at-spiderman.jpg on this

@phire Hotter take: most Big Tech senior management thinks their company has been overstaffed for years (and therefore sluggish, bureaucratic, etc), but they always worried about downsizing because it might help a competitor who was staffing up. Because everyone is now in a hiring freeze, they feel safer in letting people go.

@mhoye you’d think they’d keep a couple of PR folks around to tell them not to do dumb shit like this

@phire Hard to believe they'd listen or think it matters.

@phire even the bosses are saying this. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/19/opinion/tech-layoffs-meta-amazon-silicon-valley.html

Very bossist article btw, given she ends with saying, essentially, "and therefore tech workers should give up"

@smolwaffle I’m gonna roll my eyes so hard my retina detaches

@smolwaffle @phire every time I go back to the NYT, they remind me why I canceled my membership the last time

@smolwaffle @phire That author is getting rightfully hammered in the comments.

'Could immediately tell the writer was not an expert when they call unlimited vacation an "initiative that prioritized the whole person".

This is false, unlimited vacation is a scam that benefits corporations financially.'

@stacey_campbell @phire yeah that's only okay if coupled with a minimum vacation time. I did like the one place that had unlimited vacation time and paid a bonus if you took 2 continuous weeks off without checking email.

I'd have a lot of questions about norms before taking a job with unlimited vacation. 8 weeks? Yeah sure. Unlimited? Well... what's the distribution like?

@smolwaffle @stacey_campbell @phire advantage of living in Europe is a minimum vacation time per sector. At least if you're on payroll. For freelance and self employed, there are little to no rules.

@gerbrand @smolwaffle @phire I worked a full-time salaried job in Australia for a few years for an American employer. They were not happy to learn they had to pay for my mandated 4 week vacation every year.

@phire

Been saying for a long time that San Francisco politics will become less distortedly pro-wealth when even high-paid tech workers figure out that "tech" isn't a unified political or economic identity: labor and management aren't the same side.

I think we're at that transition point now. Our city politics might start to become more comprehensible soon if not necessarily healthier.

@phire Absolutely! Layoffs aimed at squashing unionization efforts actually demonstrate why the unions are needed.

@phire time to eliminate or greatly reduced H1-B visas given the layoffs at Microsoft and Google.

@phire it's all for Wall Street, very typical for downturns or perceived downturns

@phire Plenty of overlap here, too. Sending a shot across labor's bow is definitely one way to appease investors.

@phire
The original US labor movement happened during the #GreatDepression so it's a lie that worker organizing requires a strong economy.

@BernieWonIowa @phire Even before that there was the Colorado Coalfield War of 1914, sparked by the Ludlow Massacre, in Colorado at least labor protest go back at least to the 1890s.

@phire Also smells a lot like "For some reason, investors thought what Elon did was 'bold'. I guess this is what we're doing."

@phire This. They're also making a bet that their infrastructure is robust enough to require no more maintenance from the people who built it.

@phire Do you have a source for that investors/shareholders are asking for cuts/layoffs?

@markstahl @phire very strange they would listen to a nobody investor like them.

Larry, Eric and Serg do as they please surely?

Strange also then they would relate it to Google EBITDA - down 13 on last year which was from 65% UP.

https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/alphabet-retains-top-median-employee-salary-hits-lowest-ceo-pay-gap-in-tech-71896693

They could fire everyone and not even move the needle.

@phire

I mean, yeah? Stock prices increase after redundancies, after all.

(the two things are not mutually exclusive, obvs)

@phire Yes and yes. A lot of these from a real financial point of view make almost 0 difference. You save a billion out of companies that have operating profit in excess of 50 billion? It's all BS, it's investor appeasement to see if the stock goes up while showing employees who is boss.

What?! Fuck no. I didn't get laid off and I make a shit ton of money. Do you want to make less money? Because a tech union would just make sure everyone made way less money.

@phire
Now would be a good time for non-IT companies to scoop up some tech talent. Big IT has been poaching from them for years and selling them back as high priced consultants.

@phire It turns out that people who make decisions on pattern matching also give direction on pattern matching. Just blanket advice to the entire portfolio: do layoffs now.

@phire related: the only inflation Wall Street cares about preventing is wage inflation

@phire abso fucking lutely!!! and both goals are counter to what actually drives profit and success.

@phire Isn't the latter why the investors want the layoffs?

@phire hard agree. Get in line or get fired.

Stock prices all up because wall street loves misery.

@phire I’m not sure I agree. Aren’t layoffs a clear message that individual employees have absolutely no pull and if they want to have any opportunity to even talk about this stuff before it is unilaterally thrust upon them, they have to organize?

@aubilenon that should be the logical conclusion yeah, but I think it mainly ends up sowing fear and people don’t want to organize because they’re afraid of being fired into a brutal job market of all these other layoffs

@phire at a previous job they explicitly said that they fired a bunch of people because the board asked them to

@phire it’s all about the happy line. Which is weird because Elon started it and his happy line is garbage, but psychopath cargo cultists gotta psychopath cargo cult.

@phire Cynical, darkly-amused take: It's a very very bad idea to shaft the people who actually know how all of your fancy technology works, when you don't.

You'd think corporate America would have learned that from management breaking a bunch of machines, when they decided "Anyone can run these things!" during the Kellogg's strike.

@phire hopefully it'll just get the opposite effect and accelerate the unionization

@phire I said this months ago when they were trying to revert WFH. It's a slight against the workers as they finally started advocating for themselves. And guess what? It's permanent. Standards are higher now for the workers. Get used to it. Pay more. Do better. Be flexible. Or get bent.

@phire any idea why now? Because the economic climate is good excuse?

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