FPI / March 22, 2020
Failed Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg delivered a double whammy to his campaign staff at the end of the week.
On Thursday night, Bloomberg's campaign emailed staffers that employees on two floors of its Manhattan offices had been exposed to the coronavirus, Politico reported.
On Friday, the campaign notified staffers around the country they were being laid off, which for the New York City employees means their health insurance ends March 31. The news came as a shock to campaign workers who Bloomberg had promised would have jobs until the November election whether or not he won the party's nomination.
Bloomberg campaign employees on Thursday received an email sent at 11:03 p.m. with the subject line “Building Update — 229 West 43rd Street.”
“We’ve just become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the office at 229 West 43rd Street impacting the 5th and 8th floor,” the email said.
The individual who tested positive was last in the office on Monday, according to the campaign. The campaign did not say whether the person who had the virus was a fellow staffer. Bloomberg’s campaign suggested employees work from home for their final days on the job.
Bloomberg originally lured staffers by promising they would be paid through November regardless of the Democratic primaries outcome.
“A set of interview talking points used by the campaign to hire field organizers over the last several months,” The New York Times reported, “had included mention of 'full health, dental and vision benefits' and 'employment through November 2020 with Team Bloomberg.' ”
Some campaign staffers were led to believe they also could transition to working for a Bloomberg-funded super PAC next month. On Friday, Bloomberg said he would not pursue that option, meaning all of his staff members are losing their jobs.
The action was not popular, especially considering that the billionaire former mayor of New York City had recently given $18 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), according to NPR.
“While we considered creating our own independent entity to support the nominee and hold the president accountable, this race is too important to have many competing groups with good intentions but that are not coordinated and united in strategy and execution,” Bloomberg’s campaign wrote in a memo to DNC Chairman Tom Perez.
One critic tweeted: "Tom Perez and DNC will take Bloomberg's millions. They won't do anything for staffers that are now in dire straits during pandemic. And they will remember who gave them funds as they continue to fight against policies that would benefit the most vulnerable."
Another tweeted: "Am I to understand that Michael Bloomberg broke his promise of yearlong employment to his campaign staffers and is now cutting them off from their healthcare in the middle of a pandemic?"
Amol Jethwani, a former campaign aide, tweeted: “I guess it’s cheaper to give the DNC 18 million than keep promises because @MikeBloomberg just fired his whole campaign staff — including those of us promised jobs through November on his IE. [Disappointed] I don’t have a job. Not surprised that a billionaire is cheating scum.”
Free Press International