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Fastmail, headquartered in Philadelphia, lays off staff, union says

Fastmail, headquartered in Philadelphia, lays off staff, union says

It’s shaping up to be a tough summer for some tech workers as more layoffs roll out across the Philadelphia region.

Melbourne and Philly-based Fastmail has carried out layoffs, according to a Mastodon post from union members Monday. The email service has laid off 60% of its bargaining unit, the group of workers represented by the union.

While tech employment is essentially back to pre-pandemic levels, there’s no doubting the psychological shift from where established tech startups once were to where they are now. In 2019, a class of tech startups was at the heart of economic policy in nearly every major U.S. city. In Philadelphia, companies like Guru, Crossbeam, Quotapath, Neuroflow, HealthVerity, dbt Labs, and GoPuff all had offices in Center City before the pandemic — and collectively, more than 1,000 employees.

Today? They’ve all had layoffs, and most have downsized or thrown out their offices. Fastmail is no different now.

Graph showing trends in US tech employment from January 2013 through May 2024. The green line represents the number of employees, with a notable peak in early 2020, followed by fluctuating increases.

After a dip during the pandemic and subsequent rebound, tech employment is starting to stabilize along the trend line, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

The layoffs affected the union’s bargaining committee, a group of representatives involved in dialogue with management, and occurred during contract negotiations. The release listed developers, product managers, marketing specialists, UX researchers, and product designers as some of the roles affected. Still, Fastmail appears to be hiring for tech roles in Philly. Last week, a job listing for a senior systems administrator was posted.

Employees who are laid off will receive a severance package negotiated by union representatives.

“Fortunately, we were able to negotiate a much better severance package than we would have received if we had not unionized when we did,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the work that the Communication Workers of America did on our behalf to get us the best deal they could.”

Fastmail did not respond to Technical.ly’s request for comment or confirm the exact number of people affected. The union and individual employees Technical.ly reached out to also did not immediately respond.

The union will continue to negotiate a contract for the remaining employees in the negotiating group.

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