Bloomberg 2020 Field Staffers Lawsuit
August 17 Open Letter
Fired Bloomberg Staffers Call on DNC Chairman Tom Perez to Remove Mike Bloomberg From the Democratic Convention Stage Because of How He Wrongfully Terminated 2,000-Plus Campaign Staffers
Contact: Peter Romer-Friedman, Gupta Wessler PLLC, 718-938-6132, firstname.lastname@example.org
An Open Letter From Wrongfully-Terminated Bloomberg Campaign Staffers to DNC Chairman Tom Perez
By Alexis Sklair, Sterling Rettke, Nathaniel Brown, Brian Giles, Jocelyn Reynolds, and Caryn Austen
We are Democrats who worked as field staffers for Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign across the country and were wrongfully terminated in March 2020 along with 2,000 other field staffers, when Bloomberg broke his promise to employ us through the November 2020 general election.
We write to you in your capacity as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Since you are one of the greatest champions of workers’ rights in American history—serving as Labor Secretary and the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division during the Obama Administration—we are confident that you will take our concerns seriously.
We write to ask you and the DNC to remove Mike Bloomberg from the slate of speakers at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night.
While the Democratic Party should be a big tent, we do not believe that there is a place on the convention stage for people like Mike Bloomberg who make a mockery of workers’ rights—a fundamental value that unites all Democrats. There are hundreds of Democratic leaders and workers’ rights advocates who could easily fill Mr. Bloomberg’s spot on the convention stage and faithfully articulate how our party greatly values workers’ rights and working families.
Whether or not you honor our request, we hope that you will ask Mike Bloomberg to make good on his promises to his staffers. It’s not too late to put many of us to work to help elect Joe Biden, retain the House, and take back the Senate. And it’s not too late to ensure that all former field staffers receive the pay and benefits that Mike Bloomberg promised us.
In late 2019 and early 2020, we and more than 2,000 Democrats agreed to work for the Bloomberg campaign. Some of us had worked for other presidential candidates, while others had never worked for any campaign before. But we all wanted to make a difference and help elect a Democratic President, because Donald Trump is the greatest threat in our lifetimes to security and prosperity, and because a Democratic President like Joe Biden will fight hard to protect workers, save the planet, attack systemic racism and sexism, and promote economic equality.
Because Mike Bloomberg launched his campaign just a few months before the Iowa Caucus, he took an unprecedented step to get us to join his campaign. Bloomberg and his campaign promised field staffers that they would employ and pay us to work both in the primary and the general election through November 2020. Even if Bloomberg lost the primary, they said we’d have secure jobs—with excellent pay and benefits—to campaign for the Democratic presidential nominee. They also said that they’d committed the funds necessary to keep open the campaign’s field offices through the general election to help defeat Donald Trump.
Bloomberg’s promises worked as planned. They enticed over 2,000 field staffers to join the campaign and work tirelessly for Bloomberg, 7 days a week and often 12 hours a day. Many of us had turned down excellent job offers with other campaigns or employers. Others quit longstanding stable jobs. And some of us deferred graduate school.
But Bloomberg’s promises turned out to be false. When Bloomberg’s campaign failed to win more than a single delegate by Super Tuesday, Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race in March 2020. Then, he immediately terminated over 2,000 field staffers, turning his back on his clear commitment to employ and pay us through the general election and denying us the unique opportunity to work on the general election to defeat Donald Trump.
Shockingly, Mike Bloomberg left us without any income or health insurance in the middle of a global pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. (He later agreed to continue health insurance for some of the former staffers). This is the type of greedy, anti-worker move we’d expect from Donald Trump, but not from a Democratic presidential candidate.
The impact of Bloomberg’s broken promises has been devastating. Many staffers have faced severe financial struggles. Some staffers were literally stranded in the states where they worked for Bloomberg at the height of the covid-19 crisis, because they could not afford to return to their homes. Bloomberg’s broken promises have also taken an emotional toll on many staffers, with many feeling distress and anxiety and some harboring thoughts of ending their own lives. While some of us have managed to find other jobs, including working for other Democratic campaigns, we all have been put in a far worse position because Mike Bloomberg broke his clear promises to us—promises that he made for his own personal benefit.
We have never been given an explanation about why Mike Bloomberg broke his promises to over 2,000 staffers he wrongfully terminated. Rather than offering us an explanation, Bloomberg has hired a law firm that specializes in union avoidance to help him dismiss workers’ rights lawsuits that we and other staffers have filed to hold Bloomberg accountable. While Bloomberg transferred $18 million to the DNC to help support the DNC’s voter mobilization efforts, it’s just a small fraction of the resources that he would have spent to put us to work through November and it’s an even smaller fraction of the hundreds of millions he pledged to spend on the general election to help Democrats win back the White House.
We fail to see how Mike Bloomberg, a man worth $55 billion, could renege on his commitments to over 2,000 of his own staffers and the Democratic Party. His actions are not just immoral. We also believe they are illegal, as we have alleged in federal court.
More important to this week’s convention, Mike Bloomberg’s broken promises to his staffers conflict with one of the fundamental values of the Democratic Party—workers’ rights. The 2020 Democratic platform is chock-full of statements and policies about strengthening workers’ rights and transforming an economy that is now “rigged” “in favor of the wealthiest few” into one where there is “shared prosperity” for working families. The platform criticizes “employers who steal workers’ wages” or engage in other unfair or unlawful tactics.
In other words, the Democratic Party and its platform strongly oppose the immoral and unfair things that Mike Bloomberg did to thousands of his staffers during his presidential campaign.
Because of how Mike Bloomberg mistreated us, we were dismayed to learn that the DNC selected Mike Bloomberg to speak at the Democratic convention this Thursday night.
The Democratic Party has always been a big tent. And we agree that the party must attract people from all walks of life and diverse perspectives. But there is no place in the Democratic Party—and especially on the stage of our national convention—for a politician like Mike Bloomberg who makes false promises to his workers and withholds tens of millions of dollars of wages and benefits that he promised those workers.
How can we be the only major party in America that strongly supports increasing the minimum wage, making it easier to organize unions and collectively bargain, strengthening civil rights laws, and ending forced arbitration of workers’ rights claims, and at the same time give a major platform for Mike Bloomberg to speak just hours before Joe Biden accepts the Democratic nomination?
We respectfully ask that you remove Mike Bloomberg from the convention agenda and replace him with a Democratic politician or labor leader who supports workers’ rights and other core Democratic Party values.
There are so many other inspirational Democratic leaders who could faithfully speak to the hopes and dreams of working families: elected leaders like Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, and Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and labor leaders who represent millions of working people, like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler, Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton, Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, and United Steelworkers President Tom Conway.
All of these people are far better suited to credibly and powerfully speak about the values that we hold dear as Democrats and the things Democrats want to accomplish to make our economy work for working families again, instead of further rigging the system for billionaires like Mike Bloomberg to make even more profit.
Regardless of whether Mike Bloomberg is given a platform on the DNC’s stage this Thursday, we hope that you will ask—or even demand—that he takes immediate action to make his former field staffers whole and put them back to work to support the election of Joe Biden.
The authors of this open letter were field staffers for Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign. After they were terminated, they filed a class action lawsuit that alleges that the Bloomberg campaign and Mike Bloomberg violated New York state law by breaking their promises to over 2,000 field staffers. The case is known as Sklair et al. v. Mike Bloomberg 2020, Inc. and Michael Bloomberg, No. 20 Civ. 2495 (S.D.N.Y).