Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s now-defunct presidential campaign informed current and former staffers that it will cover the cost of their health care coverage through the November election, his campaign tells The Post.
The news comes after the billionaire was hit with three lawsuits from former 2020 staffers claiming that the campaign had reneged on its pledge to pay and employ workers through the general election, instead taking away their healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign alerted staffers of the move in a memo sent out Monday, and obtained by NPR, which blamed “extraordinary circumstances,” including the coronavirus outbreak, for the decision, as opposed to the lawsuits.
“Given these extraordinary circumstances, the campaign will cover the cost of COBRA through November 2020. This is aimed at supporting those who have not already secured replacement healthcare coverage,” the email read.
COBRA is a federal law allowing former employees to stay on their employer’s insurance plan at their own expense.
In ex-campaign organizer Grette Fernandez’s class-action suit filed last week, the plaintiffs allege that Bloomberg 2020 owes them at least $5 million for going back on its guarantee to thousands of staffers that they would keep getting paychecks through November, even if the billionaire wasn’t the nominee.
“All parties knew that Mr. Bloomberg’s path to the nomination was a moon shot. Accordingly, Defendant knew that without a promise of employment for a definitive period through the general election plaintiff and other members of the class…would not have joined Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign,” the petition states.
Former field organizer Donna Wood claimed in her class-action suit that the campaign violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by refusing to pay her and other staffers an overtime rate for the hours they worked beyond a standard workweek.
Her suit, filed in late March, alleged that organizers regularly worked over 40 hours a week during the campaign.
Wood’s suit also claims that Bloomberg breached a contract with workers when he fired them despite allegedly promising compensation through election day.
“Defendant’s termination of FOs and other campaign employees deprived them of promised income and health care benefits, leaving them and their families potentially uninsured in the face of a global pandemic,” Wood claims in the suit.
A spokesperson for Bloomberg’s campaign told The Post in a statement on the matter, “The campaign has covered health insurance for former employees since Mike dropped out.
“Today’s announcement makes it official that given the challenges associated with the pandemic, the campaign will continue to cover health care through November 2020 for former employees who haven’t secured other coverage.”
Within days, according to the lawsuits, the campaign began laying off employees.