Former Bloomberg campaign staffers say they feel lied to after learning last week that their jobs would be cut, despite promises of work no matter what from one of the world’s richest men.
Now they are facing losing their health insurance at the end of the month during the coronavirus pandemic.
When he exited the race on March 4, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg promised to pay his staff through the end of the month and to keep offices in some key battleground states open through the race to support the Democratic party.
Business Insider spoke to two former Bloomberg campaign staffers — who asked to remain anonymous because they signed non-disclosure agreements — who said they were shocked to be let go last week.
They worked in the purple states of Minnesota and Virginia, where the Democratic nominee will be fighting hard. However, they found their states excluded from the list of six where Bloomberg will keep offices open.
They said they had been told they would have a job through November on account of Bloomberg’s determination to defeating President Donald Trump, whether or not he became the Democratic nominee.
The two said that they knew they might have to move states to keep working, but were surprised to be offered only vague opportunities to apply for new roles, rather than the guaranteed, continuous work they were led to expect.
One former organizer in Minnesota said he specifically decided to join the Bloomberg campaign because of the stability it offered, as well as high pay and benefits.
He also believed in Bloomberg’s goal, which was to defeat Trump at all costs.
On top of that, the highly social nature of his job has left him uncertain of whether he will be able to find more work under the social distancing measures being used to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Bloomberg supporters cheer on the candidate at a Super Tuesday party on March 3, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
He said: “My job is meeting new people, having conversations with them in person, shaking hands, going to community meetings in small places and none of that is happening now.
“So this is really bad timing to no longer have income and to know that my health insurance is only good for two more weeks.
“The timing of this could not be worse for me and all of us who were let go. No campaigns are hiring right now, the normal day-to-day operations that you do as organizers in some states is illegal at the moment and probably will be in the immediate future.”
Another former Bloomberg staffer in Virginia told Business Insider he was “ecstatic” when he got the Bloomberg job, because it meant that he and his husband would have “health coverage for the first time in almost two years.”
When he too was let go in the mass culling last week, he said he felt “deceived.”
He said that in order to keep the insurance he had working for Bloomberg, it would cost $2,500 a month through COBRA, a program that lets workers maintain coverage from their last job.
However, the organizer said that option is “way too expensive for our budget.”
“With this pandemic running rampant I am very concerned about losing our coverage because if either of us get sick post-March 31, we may be choosing whether we are paying rent or our car payment instead of getting the medical help we need or vice versa.
“Regardless of whether we continued to be paid because of the virus, it would be most reassuring for all staff members to receive benefits throughout the pandemic.
“I just saw where Mike pledged $50 million dollars to help fight the virus, yet he is about to let hundreds, or thousands, of staff members lose their insurance that is critical in helping families in times like these — that’s just hypocritical to me,” the Virginia staffer said.
He added: “I literally quit my previous job to be able to work on Mike’s campaign, I upheld all of the promises I made to the campaign, I worked my a– off for the campaign, all to feel deceived and left without a job that I was promised.”
Both said that when they were laid off, they were given the opportunity to apply to jobs in the states where Bloomberg was keeping offices open, but said it was unclear whether they were getting preference over other candidates.
“The survey language is just vague, reading ‘we will be in touch if opportunities arise,'” the Virginia organizer said.
The Minnesota organizer said he was in charge of hiring a lot of staff and volunteers for the campaign, and the terms of the job were a big selling points.
He showed Business Insider a document showing noting that high pay and stability were promises for staffers that people like him were encouraged to bring up in interviews.
When he had to break the news to them that they wouldn’t be keeping the office open, it put him in an awkward position.
A former Bloomberg staffer provided us with this document used in hiring for the campaign, showing that one of the selling points was a job through November.
“Calling all of volunteers, that was not fun. I feel lied to and I feel I was made a fool of because I hired so many people to join this camp and told them they would have jobs through November.
“There were people who were very much relying on this stability — breadwinners, single mothers,” he said, adding that many of the people he hired left their careers “to get involved and stop Trump.”
“It was essentially sold as a dream job to many of us,” he said. “And we all get one more check at the end of the month and that’s the end of it.”
Business Insider made multiple attempts to reach the Bloomberg campaign spokespeople for comment, but did not receive a response.