Dozens of Michael Bloomberg campaign staffers learned they were exposed to coronavirus hours before getting laid off and days before they'll lose their health insurance

gpanetta@businessinsider.com (Grace Panetta,Ashley Collman)

Associated Press

  • Staffers for former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign learned in a Thursday night email they were exposed to coronavirus just hours before losing their jobs and health insurance. 

  • Politico reported on Friday afternoon that staffers who worked out of the campaign headquarters in New York City were informed on Thursday that a person in the same building had tested positive for coronavirus.

  • On Friday morning, Bloomberg scrapped his plans to keep staff in New York and six swing states employed through a PAC, shutting down all thec campaign offices and laying off hundreds. 

  • Staffers employed in swing state offices will have health insurance through the end of April, but employees who worked in the New York headquarters will lose their insurance on March 31.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Dozens of staffers for former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's campaign learned in a Thursday night email they were exposed to coronavirus. Hour later, on Friday morning, many of those same staffers were laid off and are now set to lose health insurance at the end of the month.

According to Politico, staffers who worked out of the campaign headquarters in New York City received an email on Thursday evening informing them that an employee who works in the same building had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The campaign told staffers who worked in the Midtown Manhattan office that the person had last been in the office on March 16, and advised staff to work from home for two weeks as a precaution. It's unclear whether the person was employed by the Bloomberg campaign. 

 

But a day after learning of the potential coronavirus exposure, staffers were out of a job and learned their insurance would run out soon.

Bloomberg, a successful businessman who is worth over $50 billion, brought on a huge staff of well over 1,000 to work on his presidential campaign. 

When he entered the presidential race late last year, he had promised to keep his campaign staffers on the payroll and direct his resources to defeat President Donald Trump through November of 2020, even if he himself never became the Democratic nominee.

After Bloomberg formally ended his campaign after a miserable performance in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, he closed all of his campaign offices except those in six key swing states, telling staffers they would keep working in those offices and would be employed by a Bloomberg political action committee. 

But on Friday morning, Bloomberg announced he had scrapped his plans to create an independent expenditure committee dedicated to defeating Trump and would instead transfer $18 million from his campaign account to the Democratic National Committee, shutting down all of his current campaign offices and laying off hundreds of people. 

The $18 million Bloomberg is sending the DNC is the remaining amount of money he had pledged to spend defeating Trump. 

Less than three weeks after telling staff they would remain employed, Bloomberg's decision to shut down all offices has left hundreds of staffers without a job as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation, spurring an economic downturn that is already putting millions of Americans' jobs at risk with a recession likely looming in the near future. 

While the Bloomberg campaign has conveyed to staffers that they can apply for jobs with the DNC, securing employment with the committee is not guaranteed. 

Multiple Bloomberg staffers told both Politico and Insider's Ashley Collman that given Bloomberg's extreme wealth, they were angry and disappointed to suddenly lose both their jobs and their health insurance in the middle of a serious pandemic that is hitting the New York area particularly hard. 

Politico reported that while staffers employed in swing state offices will have health insurance through the end of April, employees who worked in the New York headquarters will lose their jobs and healh insurance on March 31.

"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 employee in the New York headquarters told Politico. "The campaign's refusal to extend health care benefits is unconscionable and putting people at grave risk."

One former staffer in the campaign's Minnesota office told Insider: "This is the worst pandemic in 100 years and you're dropping a thousand people into an amazing amount of insecurity at the worst possible time. It really just sucks...when you talk about the 'compassionate billionaire'... you can't sell me on it anymore." 

Read more:

Bloomberg closed the last few campaign offices he promised to keep open throughout the presidential race, leaving hundreds unemployed during a pandemic

Bloomberg staffers were promised a job until Election Day, whether or not he became the nominee. Now they're days from losing their health insurance during a pandemic.

Former Bloomberg campaign staffers are reportedly being offered the chance to keep their work iPhones and laptops as a type of severance — but they'll have to pay taxes on them if they do

The pandemic is causing a recession so bad one in 5 American workers could get laid off

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