The world’s richest man is facing the wrath of jilted workers on several fronts, with janitors picketing the Market Street headquarters, and canned employees lawyering up as their promised severances are not being paid out.
Prior to his acquisition of Twitter, billionaire inheritee Elon Musk had long had a reputation for flouting laws and rules. But he was largely able to get away with this, because the arm of the law which he continuously flouted was the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, who were largely toothless in applying consequences.
But now Musk’s new Twitter is facing legal issues on other fronts, and his ability to evade these kinds of issues are less proven. A group of jilted janitors has been picketing Twitter headquarters, and separately, a number of laid-off employees are lawyering up to make sure they get their promised severance packages that seem to not be materializing. Plus, there's a city issue about some sleeping quarters that were allegedly set up in the building for those "hard-core" workers....
Janitors are picketing outside Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco. A representative with the local SEIU Union says they were told Friday that Twitter is ending the contact with the group that contracts to clean Twitter offices. pic.twitter.com/4iCT92IQH4— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) December 5, 2022
NBC Bay Area reports that Twitter cut ties with their union custodial contractor, leading to a janitor protest and picket line outside Twitter headquarters Monday. (Presumably, Musk Twitter will attempt to switch to a non-union contractor for janitorial services?) “Our cleaning contractor at Twitter was told by Twitter that they are cutting the contract,” janitors' union president Olga Miranda told NBC Bay Area. “So we have about 48 families out of work. And it just so happens that it's three weeks before Christmas.”
Grinch Musk once again breaks county and state laws, this time by locking out union janitors, @local87seiu, taking away their livelihoods during the holidays.— Æ Marling (@AEMarling) December 6, 2022
The union picketed Twitter yesterday. #JusticeForJanitors #TakeOnTheTwit #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/yjdnjzbiu3
As Bay Area picketers often do, they brought out the large, inflatable Scabby the Rat to protest non-union replacement. And as seen above, "projection activist" Alan Marling was back it at with protest projection messages on the Twitter building over the janitor dispute, as well as a laundry list of other grievances about Musk.
As Janitors are on strike @elonmusk and @Twitter violate City laws by converting office space to sleeping quarters, refuse to pay janitors back wages ( wage theft) and are searching for a non union contractors. I stand with @SEIU87. https://t.co/0mkNsZWlAs— Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) December 6, 2022
And hmmmm, Supervisor Ahsha Safai is trolling with the above tweet, yet he may have a point.
Since Musk is making a show of sleeping at Twitter HQ, and encouraging his allegedly “hardcore” remaining employees to do the same, can SF’s famed nanny-state bureaucrats find a way to ding him for “converting office space to sleeping quarters?” Because if so, that would just be hilarious.
BREAKING: San Francisco building inspectors are launching an investigation into reports Twitter has converted several office rooms at its headquarters into sleeping quarters for employees. 'We need to make sure the building is being used as intended' @sfdbi rep tells @KQEDnews— Ted Goldberg (@TedrickG) December 6, 2022
And, lo and behold, that is exactly what they're doing! KQED reports that "San Francisco building inspectors are launching an investigation into reports Twitter has converted several office rooms at its headquarters into sleeping quarters for employees. 'We need to make sure the building is being used as intended' @sfdbi rep tells @KQEDnews."
Elon Musk's Twitter is planning to lay off the remaining 20+ janitors at their HQ & fire the union contractor along w the workers who fought & won their wages & benefits.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) December 5, 2022
I'll be sworn in today to a full term--I stopped here first to let them know they have my/our full support. pic.twitter.com/H3lCVIf4Sn
Numerous local politicians joined the picketing janitor cause, and surely marching with fired janitors to protest Elon Musk is low-laying fruit for an elected official. (Dean Preston did so as well). But theoretically, is it crossing the picket line if you log into Twitter to post your Twitter protest pictures? Not an urgent question, but food for thought.
Thank you @YahooNews for covering our press conference today announcing the filing of multiple new legal claims on behalf of Twitter workers, who were laid off in such an inhumane manner.— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) December 6, 2022
But they are unsinkable!https://t.co/uz9M4cEstf
Musk likely faces far more serious jeopardy with lawsuits from laid-off employees who say they’ve been jilted out of their severance, as Forbes explains. LA-based attorney Lisa Bloom, who’s been courting possible ex-Twitter employee plaintiffs over potential violations of the WARN Act, and has experience extracting damage money from tech companies, went on a bender with Elon-inspired “Let that sink in” puns in a press conference announcing the legal actions — which are separate suits apparently seeking arbitration, because employees signed agreements that forbid class-actions.
“Elon, you broke your promises and you violated the law, we are coming after you. Let that sink in.” Bloom said in the press conference, per Forbes. According to NBC Bay Area, she added, “We are hitting Twitter and Elon with every applicable claim; from promissory estoppel, to breach of contract, to breach of their implied agreement, to violation of the warn act, to civil rights violations, everything but the kitchen sink.”
Meanwhile, the LA Times reports on a separate lawsuit from laid-off employees from New York-based attorney Akiva Cohen, one which also goes after allegedly still-owed bonuses, vested stock, and even 401k matches. Cohen’s quote gives you an idea into how these attorneys are confident they can eventually settle their cases for large sums of Musk’s billions.
“Not only will you lose on the merits, but even if you somehow won the victory would by pyrrhic,” Cohen told the Times, albeit directing his comments at Musk. “Twitter will pay far more in attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs than it could possibly ‘save’ in severance due.”
Image: @deanpreston via Twitter