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#24 Hour Fitness slashes jobs over the phone

#24 Hour Fitness slashes jobs over the phone

June 11, 2020 | 11:08am

The 24 Hour Fitness gym chain recently laid off workers over the phone as it grappled with the coronavirus crisis.

The California-based company told employees their jobs were being cut on Wednesday morning phone calls, according to the Wall Street Journal. The invitation to the calls promised “important company updates” but they gave no details about severance or benefits, though more information came later in an email, the paper reported.

The layoffs came as 24 Hour Fitness works to reopen its more than 400 clubs after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close. The company would not say how many employees were cut, but those affected included personal trainers, fitness instructors and sales staff, according to the Journal.

In a statement, 24 Hour Fitness said it made the cuts as it evaluates “staffing needs and the overall company’s club footprint.” The layoffs were announced in one-on-one and group calls with the affected employees’ supervisors rather than one mass call, according to the company.

“These are painful decisions and we do not make them lightly,” 24 Hour Fitness CEO Tony Ueber said in a statement. “We thank our dedicated, passionate team members for their contributions and impact they have had on helping to change lives every day through fitness.”

24 Hour Fitness recently reopened some gyms in Texas and expects the rest of its clubs to be up and running by mid-July. But the company has been looking for financing to support it through a potential bankruptcy, according to the Journal. Rival chain Gold’s Gym filed for bankruptcy last month after the pandemic shut down its gyms.

24 Hour Fitness is reportedly one of several companies to lay off employees remotely. Uber broke the bad news to 3,500 employees on Zoom calls last month, and electric-scooter startup Bird reportedly used a similar method in March.

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