Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who ended his presidential run earlier this month, has reneged on a promise to pay campaign staff members through November, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
Bloomberg “promised thousands of loyal, hardworking staffers that they would have a job in both the primary and general elections, and the opportunity to work to fight and defeat Donald Trump in November,” according to the class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Bloomberg laid off all of his remaining campaign staff last week. He also reversed on a plan to launch an independent political group to help defeat President Donald Trump in November, instead transferring $18 million from his presidential campaign committee to the Democratic National Committee.
Several former staffers say in the lawsuit that the campaign had promised to pay their salaries — which were famously very high — through November.
“[The Bloomberg campaign] promised salaries nearly double that of other campaigns,” the lawsuit alleges. “And they pledged to keep this promise regardless of whether Bloomberg won the Democratic nomination.”
One former Bloomberg campaign staffer, whose roles included hiring manager, previously told HuffPost the campaign advised him to tell potential hires that they were guaranteed to have a job through November.
“The job guarantee was one of the things we were encouraged to emphasize to everyone, but especially to any wavering candidates: ‘As long as you’re willing to move, you have a guaranteed job through November,’” the staffer said.
Lawyers for the former staffers allege people took that promise to heart and “uprooted their lives” to work for the campaign.
“They moved to other cities,” the lawsuit says. “They gave up school, jobs, and job opportunities.”
A spokesperson for the Bloomberg campaign said Monday in a statement that some former staffers had taken jobs with the DNC, and that former staff would continue to have health care coverage through April.
“Given the current crisis, a fund is being created to ensure that all staff receive healthcare through April, which no other campaign has done,” the statement said. “And many field staff will go on to work for the DNC in battleground states, in part because the campaign made the largest monetary transfer to the DNC from a Presidential campaign in history to support the DNC’s organizing efforts.”
In a statement to HuffPost, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs said their clients are potentially subject to confidentiality and nondisparagement agreements with the Bloomberg campaign, which would prevent the former staffers from speaking openly about their grievances.
“We respectfully request that the Bloomberg campaign release our clients and the other field staffers from that agreement, even though it may not be enforceable,” the lawyers said.