As many American workers prepare for the holiday season, some struggle with the mental and financial anguish of a sudden layoff.
After corporations complained of labor shortages through 2021 and 2022, several companies have laid off workers in massive layoffs as 2022 draws to a close.
US job cuts have increased this year, rising 6% in the first 11 months of 2022 compared to last year. In 2021, 320,173 of these were announced, although job cuts in the past two years have been lower than in the previous few decades.
A surge in job cuts is driving the tech sector, as many high-profile tech companies, including Facebook’s Meta, Twitter and Amazon, have announced massive layoffs in recent weeks.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing contractor Catalent recently informed employees that the company is planning to cut about 600 jobs in Indiana, Texas and Maryland over the next few weeks as demand for Covid vaccines drops significantly.
“The holidays are stressful enough, especially for those of us who have lost large family members and those who suffer from anxiety and depression,” said a laid-off worker at Catalent in Bloomington, Indiana, who asked not to be named out of fear. from revenge. future employers.
The person added: “I’m 45 years old and I have no idea what I want to do. The people who are still working are affected by it. They have to pick up the slack, and they miss those they worked alongside. I wish they would wait until the first of the year. Who wants to find a job or get hired right before Christmas?’
Some experts consider the cuts unnecessary.
“These companies are all making money. They’re doing it because other companies are doing it,” said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, about the latest trend in technology company layoffs.
“Layoffs often do not reduce costs, as there are many cases where laid-off employees are rehired as contractors and companies pay the contracting company. Layoffs often don’t boost stock prices, in part because layoffs can be a signal that a company is in trouble. Layoffs do not increase productivity. Downsizing doesn’t solve what is often the underlying problem, which is often an ineffective strategy, loss of market share, or too little revenue. Layoffs are generally a bad decision,” Pfeffer added.
Layoffs have many negative effects on the workers who face them. A study by British scientists found that being fired is the 7th most stressful life experience, linked to the development of a new health condition, as well as the risk of suicide, depression and substance abuse.
Other corporations have announced massive layoffs just before the holidays, claiming the economic downturn contributed to the layoffs, even though they are posting profits and the economy shows no signs of slowing down. However, the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike has fueled fears that a recession could be imminent.
Stellantis, which makes the Jeep Cherokee SUV, announced on Dec. 9 that it will close its Illinois plant, laying off more than 1,200 employees by the end of February 2023.
“It came without the slightest warning and absolutely no detail. It wasn’t even a rumor, so it just dropped like a bombshell,” said Deanna Wiel, a Belvidere, Illinois, plant worker who was on medical leave for knee surgery when the announcement was made.
The United Auto Workers criticized the decision to close the plant, given the amount of government subsidies the company received.
“We knew our future looked bleak because we had nothing to build after the end of June, but it was still a shock,” he added. “It basically ruined the holidays for us. Now nobody is in the mood for that.”
Just before Thanksgiving, about 2,700 workers at United Furniture, a company with facilities in Mississippi, California and North Carolina, received an email notifying them they were being laid off immediately.
Stephanie Watkins of Mississippi has been an employee of United Furniture for about five years. He was at work on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:50 pm when the company’s first email was sent. It said no one should report to work on November 22 and that shuttle drivers should stop making deliveries.
He described the manner in which workers were notified of the closure as “heartless”.
“We knew something bad was going to happen then. We took it upon ourselves to stop work, clock out and leave. Exactly one hour after the first email was the last email saying all the employees were fired,” Watkins said. “I was really in shock. We tried calling our top executives to ask questions, and if we got any response at all, it was that they weren’t aware of such information either.”
RV Corp.’s Tiffin Motorhomes facilities earlier this month issued notices to dozens of workers at its manufacturing plants in Belmont and Burnsville, Mississippi, as well as Red Bay, Alabama, citing economic problems.
After hearing the word “job cuts,” things kind of faded away because of the fight to come. “My mind was racing about what bills I could pay and what bills I had to keep going to still try to have a little Christmas,” said a laid-off employee who had worked at Tiffin Motorhomes for several years but asked is to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
“They don’t value workers and to fire them three weeks before Christmas is pretty ridiculous.”