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Laid-off Meta cafeteria workers ask for the same severance as the company's employees

By Levi Sumagaysay

The more than 100 cafeteria workers who were recently laid off at Meta Platforms Inc. are asking the giant tech company to treat them like it did its laid-off engineers and other employees.

The workers and their union supporters plan to rally at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon to urge Facebook parent Meta (META) to give laid-off subcontracted service workers the same severance and benefits as the office workers it directly employed and laid off.

Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced late last year that he would lay off 11,000 employees, or 13% of the company's workforce. Since then, almost all the other large tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have announced mass layoffs, including Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)(GOOGL), Inc. (AMZN) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) They have cited a changing economic landscape, and, in some cases, too much hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an email to his staff, Zuckerberg detailed the severance package the company made available to the employees who lost their jobs. It includes 16 weeks of base pay plus two weeks for each year of service; six months of healthcare coverage; and more.

See: Palantir joins growing list of tech companies announcing layoffs

In a petition signed by about 800 people, the laid-off cafeteria workers, who were directly employed by Meta vendor Flagship Facility Services Inc., asks for similar benefits and more, including: four months of pay plus two weeks for every year of service; healthcare for six months; recall right for five years; and two weeks to accept a transfer.

According to filings with the state of California, Flagship laid off 126 food-service workers from a dozen different addresses for Meta in Menlo Park, effective March 6. The workers were notified that their jobs would be cut in early January. Other service workers at Meta have been laid off in the past year, including janitors.

Marisol Mora, who worked her way up from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook over the almost five years she worked at Meta, was among those laid off. She said she was escorted out of the building in January, unable to say goodbye to her coworkers.

"I understand the need for layoffs, but I'm fighting for the same treatment," Mora told MarketWatch on Wednesday ahead of the rally at Meta headquarters. "I noticed the engineers from Meta had severance that was double mine... We worked under the same ceiling."

Mora noted that there were "thousands and thousands" of Meta employees who were offered the more generous severance packages, and that the hundred or so cafeteria workers who are now looking for jobs in an uncertain economy should receive the same.

Silicon Valley Rising, an alliance of labor groups and community leaders, is advocating for the laid-off workers. The group says most of the laid-off cafeteria workers are Black and brown.

"Meta has always assured its tech employees and users of their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and racial and economic equity," the group said in a news release. "But the double standards experienced by their cafeteria workers is a harsh reminder that Meta's support to working people is conditional."

A Meta spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday. Neither did Flagship, which provided the cafeteria workers with their severance packages.

-Levi Sumagaysay


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-01-23 1549ET

Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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