WeWork Withdraws Staff From NYC Locations Amid Demonstrations
WeWork has stopped sending staff into New York City locations as protests, clashes between demonstrators and police, and looting have roiled the city since the weekend.
“If you’ve been watching the news or social media feeds like us this weekend, you have seen the events unfolding across the country,” the coworking company wrote in a message to members, Commercial Observer reports. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are moving all buildings in New York to keycard access only until further notice … If you would like to go to the building, you will need your keycard.”
There will be no staff on-site to help with services, members were told. More than 100 WeWork locations are affected, per CO. At least one WeWork location in Washington, D.C., will also not be staffed for the time being, according to an email obtained by Bisnow.
WeWork, the largest private office tenant in the city, raised the ire of some members when it opted to keep its sites open through the coronavirus crisis — even reportedly offering a $100-a-day bonus for staff to keep going in to work.
This week, WeWork's head of U.S. real estate, Aaron Ellison, left the company, Business Insider reported, the latest in a string of WeWork real estate operatives to have stepped away after the company's failed attempt at going public last year precipitated a rethinking of its growth-at-all-costs leasing strategy.
Many of its counterparts closed, but WeWork said it decided to keep operating because it was providing essential services. One member who had petitioned WeWork to close its doors during the virus crisis described the firm's decision to pull staff in the city as "wildly offensive."
Demonstrations have intensified across the country, as tens of thousands of people have taken to the street in protest against the killing of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis while in police custody over a week ago. The police officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes has been charged with second-degree murder.
In New York City, the protests, many of which are peaceful, in some cases gave way to widespread looting on Sunday and Monday nights. On Tuesday night, vandalism and looting eased as demonstrators continued to gather to march across the city.