To: WeWork

WeWork Employees Deserve Lawful Wages

For years, WeWork has classified its frontline staff (Front Desk Associates, Associate Community Managers, and Community Managers) as “exempt” and failed to pay them the overtime they deserve. WeWork depends on the hardwork of these employees. They admit on their website that “we can’t do any of this alone.” WeWork claims that its employees “are in it together” and “look out for one another.”

Recently, employees of WeWork attempted to look out for one another and organize for fair wages. Rather than listen to us and work to resolve these issues together, WeWork’s response was to divide us and try and make us weak. WeWork forced us to sign mandatory arbitration agreements banning collective or class actions, and denying our right to a jury trial. If you didn’t sign, you were fired. The goal of this campaign is to gather together current and former employees, WeWork members and public supporters who do not want to let WeWork get away with breaking the law by demanding the company rescind their use of unlawful arbitration agreements and take steps to pay workers lawful wages.

Why is this important?

WeWork is a network of shared work spaces with over 90 locations in 28 cities around the world. It’s a startup that has been valued at $16 billion. Its mission is, “to create a world where people work to create a life not just a living.” Yet this doesn’t include its employees.

I worked as an Associate Community Manager for WeWork in the Bay Area from March to November 2015. I was given a salary of $42,000 per year, or $82 per day. My responsibilities included working the front desk, giving tours, hosting events and replacing office supplies and kegs -- among other activities. I loved my job, but noticed myself and my coworkers with similar positions were constantly short staffed, doing mostly menial tasks, and working an extra 10 or more hours a week.

Eventually, I realized employees were misclassified as “salary exempt” in order to avoid key benefits like overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and reimbursement of expenses, like using your personal cell phone for work. Myself and other employees consistently brought the issues to the attention of management, but were ignored. When my lawsuit was discovered, I was told by a manager my talk about wages with coworkers was negative to the work environment and I should stop talking to other employees about their rights because, “their path is their path” and I should let everyone discover it on their own. I was asked if I wanted to resign, and declined.

A few weeks later, WeWork surprised employees with over 50 pages of new employment documents, including a 9-page arbitration agreement which waived employee’s rights to class action claims and waived a person’s right to a jury trial, individually or collectively. I refused to sign the papers and asked what would happen. I was informed that my “continued employment would count as [my] consent to the new agreements.” Since I already had an active complaint and did not want to waive my civil rights, I refused to sign the new papers. I was fired the following day.

My lawsuit was filed against WeWork in December 2015. Sadly, the case was still forced into arbitration and out of the public eye. I am still determined to make this right and help others via this campaign. The company, valued at $16 billion, should not be allowed to make its profits at the expense of their employees. WeWork should not be allowed to hide behind unlawful arbitration agreements to avoid being held accountable to federal and state labor laws. Companies should never have the power to take away the rights of citizens.

Please help and support this campaign. If you are a current or former employee we would love to talk to you.


Reasons for signing

  • I signed because as a former ACM who was fired (literally was never told why), I want WeWork to own up and start following the law so that their current and future employees are protected.
  • We WeWork frontline staff are being taken advantage of, overworked without pay, and burdened with unlawful arbitration agreements.
  • This was unfair and illegal.

Updates

2017-05-09 11:05:56 -0400

Bloomberg has a new article about how "as WeWork grew, some employees say they were mistreated." Check it out here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-08/as-wework-grew-some-employees-say-they-were-mistreated

2016-09-26 16:46:33 -0400

http://therealdeal.com/2016/09/26/bowing-to-pressure-wework-tells-workers-they-can-co-unionize/

2016-07-21 01:48:08 -0400

WEWORK FACES LABOR LAWSUIT THAT COULD HIT THE SUPREME COURT

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/office/wework-faces-labor-dispute-amid-job-cuts-61179?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser

2016-07-14 11:44:17 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2016-07-12 21:26:03 -0400

WeWork to Face Another NLRB Charge for Violating Employee Rights

https://www.officingtoday.com/2016/07/wework-to-face-another-lawsuit-for-violating-employee-rights/

2016-06-18 00:16:43 -0400

Article by The Spirit News: WeWork Hard for Their Money https://spiritnews.org/articles/wework-hard-for-their-money/

2016-06-11 23:16:02 -0400

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reportedly found merit to charges leveled against WeWork by former employee Tara Zoumer.

Read more:
http://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/news/2016/06/08/will-wework-drop-arbitration-clause-from-employees.html

2016-06-10 17:54:33 -0400

500 signatures reached

2016-06-07 18:10:15 -0400

"The National Labor Relations Board, an independent government agency tasked with investigating unfair labor practices in the US, has found 'merit' in certain charges against $16 billion 'co-working' startup WeWork."

Read more on this news here: http://www.businessinsider.com/labor-board-finds-merit-in-charges-against-wework-2016-6

2016-06-02 16:14:28 -0400

100 signatures reached

2016-06-02 15:15:11 -0400

50 signatures reached

2016-06-02 15:05:09 -0400

25 signatures reached

2016-06-02 10:42:01 -0400

10 signatures reached

2016-05-27 16:43:58 -0400

Employers are "are increasingly using arbitration to thwart employees from bringing any meaningful legal challenge in court." Find out more about WeWork and this trend via the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/business/dealbook/start-ups-embrace-arbitration-to-settle-workplace-disputes.html

2016-05-27 16:42:49 -0400

Check out some in-depth background about what happened at WeWork via Buzzfeed here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/nitashatiku/wework-is-being-sued-by-an-ex-employee