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Hundreds of Seattle Twitter workers among those laid off

Nov. 7, 2022 Updated Mon., Nov. 7, 2022 at 9:45 p.m.

Among those laid off last week at Twitter were 208 Seattle workers.  (Tribune News Service)
Among those laid off last week at Twitter were 208 Seattle workers. (Tribune News Service)
By Renata Geraldo Seattle Times Seattle Times

Twitter’s layoff spree last week included 208 Seattle workers, Washington state officials announced Monday.

Jan. 4 will be the final day of employment for the Washington state-based Twitter workers cut from the company Friday, according to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification service records. Nearly 3,700 workers have been laid off companywide.

Employees received an email warning of the layoffs Friday, about a week after Tesla founder Elon Musk completed his $44 billion Twitter acquisition. Twitter had a 7,500-person workforce.

Several employees reported learning they’d been laid off only when their access to company systems was cut abruptly. Others received emails on their personal accounts informing they had been laid off.

One former Twitter employee living in Kirkland said they stayed up until 4:30 a.m. Friday waiting for the email confirming their employment. The process to find out whether they were still employed was “needlessly cruel,” they said.

“It’s like ‘The Bachelorette’ thing where it’s like, ‘Will I get the rose?’” said the former employee, who requested anonymity to preserve future job prospects. “It was super stressful and very unfair.”

Shortly after the Oct. 27 takeover, Twitter programmers were told to show 50 pages of code they’d written recently.

In the two years the former employee was at Twitter, they said they worked on difficult problems affecting users’ Twitter timelines. As a result, they said they did not write code as frequently as some colleagues. The coding frequency was the reason the former employee was laid off, they said.

“Who knew handling actual tough problems was bad for your career?” the former employee said. “I’m personally very disappointed.”

After Musk’s takeover of Twitter, there were “intense” internal conversations about cost-cutting, the former employee said. “But then we realized we were the cut.”

Musk himself has not addressed the company and its employees since the acquisition. On Twitter, Musk contended that all laid-off employees would be paid until the layoff went into effect.

Since the layoffs, Twitter has reportedly reached out to dozens of employees who lost their jobs and asked them to return. The former employee was not one of them.

Some of those who are being asked to return were laid off by mistake, two people familiar with the moves told Bloomberg News. Others were let go before management realized that their work and experience may be necessary to build the new features Musk envisions, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

A Twitter spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted on Friday.

Twitter has close to 3,700 employees remaining, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk is pushing those who remain at the company to move quickly in shipping new features. In some cases, Bloomberg reported, employees have even slept at the office to meet new deadlines.

This report includes information from Bloomberg News and other Seattle Times news services.

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