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Report From the Oracle/PeopleSoft Frontline: Alienating PeopleSoft

They Got To Sleep On It In Pleasanton, CA

(Friday, January 14, 2004 - Pleasanton, CA) - The hammer didn't officially come down on PeopleSoft today, according to several employees whom we interviewed outside of company headquarters Friday afternoon. "We'll find out tomorrow," a weeping 30-something woman told us as she packed a heavy crate of personal belongings into the back of her SUV. Nearby, another woman carried a similar crate as she walked with her six-year-old son to their car.

Several youngish employees gathered near a shrine on PeopleSoft Parkway, one block from the headquarters entrance. The mood was surprisingly cheerful, although no one would provide their names "because they (management) told us not to give our names to the media," one young man explained. None of them knew whether they had been fired or not, repeating the refrain of "we'll find out tomorrow."

A middle-aged engineer we'll call "Anil" also said that he didn't know his fate, but said he wasn't overly concerned. "If they had done this two years ago, then most of us would be in a lot of trouble," he said. "But with the economy recovering as it is, I think that I and most of us will be able to find jobs" if fired.

The shrine had buttons, brochures, company caps, and photographs from happier days, along with a small shroud with "RIP" stenciled into it and a hastily-drawn cardboard sign that said "Under New Management."

Public reports this afternoon stated that Oracle would lay off a total of 5,000 employees within the new combined organization, smaller than the 6,000 figure that had been thrown around the past several weeks. What's not known is how many of those jobs will be plucked from the sprawling PeopleSoft campus, which dominates the Hacienda Business Park in Pleasanton and is a major employer and economic driver in this region. In any case, the story was big enough to merit top billing on at least one of the major Bay Area TV stations in evidence at the scene.

By 5:15pm, the sun had set and traffic was building steadily on the nearby 580 freeway to mark the start of a three-day week-end. Parking lots at PeopleSoft (i.e., Oracle/PeopleSoft, as stated on the Web site at www.peoplesoft.com) headquarters and surrounding buildings were still half-full. One might presume that those left in the buildings at that hour intended to do what they could to keep their jobs through the week-end and beyond.


Photo: The shrine in Pleasanton, California had a small shroud with "RIP" stenciled into it. The shrine had a hastily-drawn cardboard sign that said "Under New Management" (below)


(Photo Copyright: SYS-CON Media, January 14, 2005)

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global IoT Research, (@IoT2040), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo. He is also Editor of SYS-CON Media's Cloud Computing Journal & IoT Journal & & writes for Computerworld Philippines. He has a BA from Knox College, Technical Writing Certificate from UC-Berkeley, and conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

More Stories By Matt Vande Voorde

Matt Vande Voorde is editor of Accessible Content Magazine and a former TV producer at Oracle Corp.

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Most Recent Comments
dm 01/19/05 05:28:10 PM EST

As a former Oracle employee with a drastically different severance package, I am interested in legal options/opinions. Is this discrimination? Are there any precedences (HP/Compaq, etc.)? Is it normal for a company with the same ownership to treat people that differently? Any suggestions/opinions would be appreciated.

RIP PeopleSoft 01/17/05 09:24:56 AM EST

Great photos...like being there. Very sad.

newpauper 01/15/05 08:45:51 AM EST

I've been laid off three times in my life and each time came back stronger and with a better and more satisfying job and life. These words may be hard to swallow in the midst of a bleak outlook but I've found that a phrase from a song out of the musical, "Paint Your Wagon" sums it up:

"Ain't never seen a sight that weren't better looking back."

wrigley142004 01/15/05 06:37:23 AM EST

who cares about the livlihoods of 5000 honest hard working americans?..certainly not ellison and his group..he'll probably outsource another 10,000 to india within the next 2 years....pretty soon nobody will be working here..maybe we will all become farmers again....imo

nazyoyo 01/15/05 06:35:45 AM EST

Everybody seems to be shedding a little tear for Peoplesoft employees... what about Oracle employees? They are being laid-off too and I hear the severance package is not as good.

funsugarandspicefancier 01/15/05 06:34:42 AM EST

Thanks Larry for taking a great company and throwing it away in only 15 days.

Too bad fed ex isn't showing up at your door today.

kollaborateordie 01/15/05 05:59:07 AM EST

As far as I can tell, former JDE employees have not been RIFed in the US either. Larry knows a great product and people when he sees it, or else he might be staging it for wholesale to IBM or the likes.

giorgio_loukas 01/15/05 05:54:09 AM EST

I am very happy for my ex colleagues in
Europe(JDE) who are not affected.They have been through enough over the years

ec2feed 01/15/05 05:51:26 AM EST

I just want to say, my heart goes out to you Peoplesoft employees. I am an HP employee, and must say that a big merger is awful and I know how scared and sad you all are right now. My prayers are with all of you.

joepsft 01/15/05 05:49:27 AM EST

Notifying the State of Plant Closures or Mass Layoffs

If you are an employer in California with 100 or more employees and are planning a mass layoff or closure, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act may apply to you.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Public Law 100-379, enacted August 4, 1988, requires employers with 100 or more employees to give 60 days advance notice in the event of a plant closure or mass layoff.

Definition of Plant Closure and Mass Layoff:

Plant closure

A covered employer must give notice if an employment site (or one or more facilities or operating units, within an employment site) will be shut down, and the shutdown will result in an employment loss for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period. This does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months, or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for the employer.

Mass Layoff

A covered employer must give notice if there is a mass layoff which does not result from a plant closing, but which will result in an employment loss at the employment site during any 30-day period for 500 or more employees, or for 50-499 employees if they make up at least 33 percent of the employer's active workforce. This does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for the employer.