OKLAHOMA CITY - The first thing you notice when you drive by the Chesapeake Energy campus are the crews, climbing into trees to hang Christmas lights. But you won't find much Christmas spirit.
Chesapeake announced 86 layoffs Tuesday morning, more likely to come.
In a letter released Tuesday, the company says, "The new organizational structure is vital to the long-term health of our company... These individuals have played an important role in the growth of our company, and we worked hard to ensure that each was treated with integrity and respect throughout this process."
It has created an online firestorm from current and former Chesapeake employees on the website, TheLayoff.com. The following are some of the comments:
"Wow, layoffs are definitely happening now and they're finally targeting the little people. Best of luck to all those who are let go."
"One thing for sure - I will be watching how the new Chesapeake treats the people let go. If they try to screw people it is a sign that it is not a good place to work and I will be looking to move on."
"Laying people off the same day they start installing millions of dollars worth of Christmas light...Irony?"
A local IT recruiting company also took advantage of the website to give these people hope.
"Really the message in Oklahoma City is we've got a really strong hiring environment," Joseph McIntyre said. "And if you're unemployed or looking for a new opportunity or uncertain about your future, we have job opportunities."
Robert Half Technology posted an ad to the people who were laid off, saying the "have lots of positions available, looking for candidates with an oil and gas technical background."
"We'd love to talk with them, and network with them, and work with them, and see if we can't help them find a new job," McIntyre said.
A Reuters reporter shared his views on the layoffs via Skype: