Laid-off staffers of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s failed presidential campaign were alerted that they were exposed to the deadly Chinese coronavirus, according to a report.
On Friday morning, the campaign then laid off hundreds of staffers across the country, including at least several dozen in the New York office who are potentially at risk and are now being asked to finish their employment working from home. While staffers in battleground states have health coverage until the end of April, the dismissed Bloomberg employees in the New York City headquarters will lose health insurance after March 31.
In an email sent at 11:03 pm Thursday, with the mundane subject line “Building Update – 229 West 43rd Street,” the campaign’s human resources department wrote: “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 campaign wrote that the individual was last in the office on Monday, March 1.
The campaign recommended employees work from home for the next two weeks, spurring panic among some staffers given their health insurance will end in just 11 days.
Bloomberg staffers are now speaking out about potential contact with the coronavirus, expressing worry that the newly-unemployed could find themselves buried in medical debt if they become hospitalized for the deadly illness.
“Think about the potential of someone getting hospitalized on April 1, without coverage, fighting for their life and now being strapped with massive medical debt,” one unnamed Bloomberg campaign alum told Politico. “The campaign’s refusal to extend health care benefits is unconscionable and putting people at grave risk. This is not how you treat people who sacrificed a lot to work for you.”
“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 though November on his IE,” Amol Jethwani, a former Bloomberg advisor, tweeted, “Disappointed I don’t have a job. Not surprised that a billionaire is cheating scum.”
Politico’s report comes hours after Bloomberg transferred $18 million from his campaign to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in what is the largest transfer of its king ever.
It’s the latest sign of the billionaire businessman’s continued involvement in the race since ending his own campaign this month due to a lackluster showing in the March 3 primaries. In those Super Tuesday contests, the former New York City mayor won only one U.S. territory.
Bloomberg’s contribution amounts to more than the national party’s typical cash balance. The transfer will help the DNC make up for some of the steep fundraising disadvantage when compared with its Republican counterpart, which routinely has raised tens of millions more than the Democratic organization throughout election cycles.
One of the world’s wealthiest men with a net worth estimated to exceed $60 billion, Bloomberg promised throughout his campaign that he would help Democrats try to defeat President Donald Trump regardless of how his own White House bid fared.
The Bloomberg campaign, which hired a staff of 2,400 people across 43 states, will also transfer its offices in six pivotal states to the Democratic parties in those states, to help accelerate their hiring and organizing. Those states are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.