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Google Reorganizes, Hundreds Lose Jobs in Key Divisions

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Reports indicate that Google has recently laid off “several hundred” employees across multiple divisions in a new round of cost-cutting measures. The affected divisions include hardware (Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit), core engineering, and Google Assistant. The layoffs, numbering at least 600 employees and possibly more, have already taken effect, with affected workers reportedly being informed.

In response to these reports, a Google spokesman stated, “We’re responsibly investing in our company’s biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead. Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally.”

As part of the restructuring, Google is said to be reorganizing its Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit divisions. Notably, Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman, along with other leaders, are reported to be leaving the company. The restructuring aims to consolidate hardware engineering responsibilities into one team across all three divisions.

“We’ve had to make some difficult decisions about ongoing employment of some Google employees, and we regret to inform you that your position is being eliminated,” stated a note seen by The New York Times, reportedly sent to some employees in the core engineering division.

Google has not provided a comprehensive response regarding whether there have been headcount reductions in other divisions, leaving the total number of layoffs unclear. In the previous year, Google undertook one of its largest job cuts, with approximately 12,000 people laid off in January. As of late the previous year, the company employed 182,381 individuals, compared to 118,899 at the beginning of 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tech industry witnessed a broader trend of job reductions in 2023, with over 220,000 layoffs reported throughout the year. This included layoffs at major companies such as Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, Spotify, and Amazon, as well as numerous smaller and startup firms. Engadget has sought comment from Google regarding the recent layoffs and will update the story if additional information becomes available.

The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA issued a statement on Friday in response to the recent layoffs at Google. The statement expressed dismay at the layoffs, which were reportedly communicated to over a thousand Google workers via email on Wednesday. The union criticized the layoffs as unnecessary and counterproductive, coming less than a year after Alphabet laid off 12,000 employees in 2023.

The statement argued that the terms of severance have worsened, introducing chaos and instability into the workplace and forcing workers to cope with less. The union contested Alphabet’s rationale for the layoffs, asserting that the real reason is corporate greed. Despite the company’s significant profits, cash reserves, and stock performance, the statement claimed that executive pay remains unaffected, while thousands of workers face upheaval.

The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA concluded the statement by emphasizing the need for collective action among Google workers to prevent such layoffs from occurring regularly. It called on employees to unite and build the power necessary to resist future layoffs.

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