Workers Shoulder The Burden Of Bleeding Giants

Uber has laid off 3,000 more employees this week, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. This is following another round of 3,700 layoffs just two weeks prior. Uber’s business is down 80% in the time of COVID-19, and they’re bleeding out.

But the blood isn’t their own. Like every other company has and will continue to do, they’ll happily sacrifice their workers to the cause of “staying afloat.” The people at the top haven’t felt the impacts of this crisis in the ways their workers have; they’ve made sure of that.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is foregoing his salary for the rest of the year, and let’s all be sure to get out our golf claps for that, but I have a feeling he won’t miss it too much. He isn’t worrying about his healthcare coverage or applying for unemployment in extremely uncertain times. He certainly doesn’t have to worry about making rent or buying groceries. He’ll gladly play the part of the self-sacrificing Nice Guy Boss™ while throwing others to their doom to keep his place atop the pyramid.

I’m sure his company-wide email was full of apologetic but ultimately empty platitudes about the greater good and how much it pains him to have to let so many talented people go. It’s something he had to do. His hand was forced. Poor guy.

It’s a familiar song and dance: pity parties and marble busts for the ruling class, personal responsibility and scrappy bootstrap-pulling for the rest of us. Even in their report on this new wave of layoffs, the Wall Street Journal manages to swing it as “Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi attempt[ing] to steer the ride-hailing giant through the coronavirus pandemic.” Oh captain, my captain.

Before you get too choked up though, you might be interested to note that Uber actually modeled what they called “an extreme edge case” back in March wherein they lost 80% of trip volume, the reality in which the company now finds itself. The result of that model? Uber comes out the other side of this year with “$4 billion in unrestricted cash, plus $2 billion in revolving credit,” according to The Verge.

Thank goodness they haven’t wasted any of that cash on their workers. Might’ve put them in a real bind.

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