‘Cold and cold’ mass layoffs hit US workers ahead of holidays | Business

While many American workers are preparing for the holiday season, some are grappling with the mental and financial pain of being suddenly laid off.

After companies complained about labor shortages through 2021 and 2022, some companies are making massive layoffs as 2022 draws to a close.

Layoffs in the U.S. have increased this year, with layoffs up 6% in the first 11 months of 2022 compared to last year. A total of 320,173 job cuts have been announced for 2021, although the number of layoffs over the past two years has been lower than in previous decades.

Driving the increase in layoffs has been the tech sector, as a number of high-profile tech companies, including Facebook’s Meta, Twitter and Amazon, have announced mass layoffs in recent weeks.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing contractor Catalent recently notified employees that it will cut about 600 jobs in Indiana, Texas and Maryland in the coming weeks as demand for a Covid vaccine plummets.

“The holiday season is depressing enough, especially for those of us who have lost a large part of our family, and those who suffer from anxiety and depression,” said a laid-off worker at Catalent in Bloomington, Indiana. Future employer.

The person added: “I’m 45 years old and don’t know what I want to do. People who are still working are affected by this. They have to pick up the pieces and they miss the people working next to them. I hope they wait until the first day of the year. Who wants to be employed or hired before Christmas?”

Some experts believe the layoffs are unnecessary.

“These companies are making money. They’re doing it because other companies are doing it,” Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer said of the recent trend of tech layoffs.

“Layoffs don’t usually cut costs, as there are many examples of laid-off employees who are rehired as contractors, and companies pay contractors. Layoffs don’t usually boost stock prices, in part because layoffs can be a sign that a company is struggling. Layoffs Doesn’t increase productivity. Layoffs don’t solve the underlying problems, which are often ineffective strategies, loss of market share, or too little revenue. Layoffs are basically a bad decision,” Pfeffer added.

Layoffs have many negative effects on workers facing layoffs. A study by British researchers found that layoffs were the 7th most stressful life experience, associated with a significant increase in the development of new health conditions and the risk of suicide, depression and substance abuse.

Other companies announced massive layoffs in the run-up to the holidays, citing a downturn in the economy even as they recorded profits and the economy showed no signs of recession. However, the Fed’s rate hike has raised concerns that a recession could soon occur.

Stellantis, which makes the Jeep Cherokee SUV, announced on Dec. 9 the closure of an Illinois plant, resulting in the layoff of more than 1,200 workers by the end of February 2023. It mentioned the increase in the production cost of electric vehicles.

“It came with no warning and absolutely no details. It wasn’t even a rumor, so it dropped like a bomb,” said Deanna Weir, a worker at the Belvidere, Illinois, plant who suffered a knee injury during the announcement. Sick leave for surgery.

The UAW criticized the decision to close the plant, given the amount of government subsidies the company received.

“We know our future looks bleak because we have nothing to build after the end of June, but it’s still shocking,” she added. “It basically ruined our vacation. No one wants to take it now.”

On the eve of Thanksgiving, about 2,700 employees of United Furniture, a company with factories in Mississippi, California and North Carolina, received an email notifying them of their immediate layoffs.

Stephanie Watkins of Mississippi worked at United Furniture for about five years. She was at work on Tuesday, November 21 at around 10:50 pm when the first company-wide email was sent. It said no one should be at work on November 22 and road drivers would stop making deliveries.

She described the way workers were notified of the closure as “ruthless”.

“We knew right then that something bad was going to happen. We made our own decision to stop work, clock out, and leave. A full hour after the first email, the last email said all employees were fired,” Watkins said. “I was really shocked. We tried calling our senior leaders and asking questions, and if we got any answers, it was that they didn’t know this information either.”

Earlier this month, RV company Tiffin Motorhomes issued layoff notices to dozens of workers at its manufacturing plants in Belmont and Burnsville, Mississippi, and Red Bay, Alabama, citing economic concerns.

“After hearing the word ‘layoffs’ everything faded into the background with the struggles to come. My mind was on which bills I could pay and which bills I could put off further to keep trying to make Christmas a reality,” said a laid-off employee who worked for Tiffin Motorhomes for many years but requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

“They don’t value their people, and laying off staff three weeks before Christmas is terrible.”

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