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2 lawsuits say Mike Bloomberg failed to keep promise to pay staffers

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks on February 29 at a campaign rally in McClean, Va. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks on February 29 at a campaign rally in McClean, Va. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 24 (UPI) -- Staffers of former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg are involved in two class-action lawsuits against the former New York City mayor, saying he broke a promise to pay them through most of 2020 after his campaign stalled.

One lawsuit, filed by field staffers Alexis Sklair of Georgia, Sterling Rettke of Washington and Nathaniel Brown of Utah, says Bloomberg promised paid employment through the general election in November.

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A second lawsuit, filed by field organizer Donna Wood, says staff weren't paid for working overtime hours on the campaign. She says Bloomberg repeatedly vowed that the workers would be paid through November. Wood attorney Justin Swartz said other former Bloomberg staffers are also asking to join the suit.

"Apparently, a lot of people are disappointed in Mr. Bloomberg and very angry about how they were treated," Swartz said. "Right now Mr. Bloomberg is probably one of the few people in [the United States] who could afford to pay his employees' healthcare."

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Bloomberg said last week he will transfer $18 million of his own money to the Democratic National Committee to aid presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The Bloomberg campaign told former organizers to apply for jobs with the DNC.

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Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman and media mogul, dropped out of the Democratic race on March 4 after failing to register a strong performance on Super Tuesday.

"Thousands of people relied on that promise," one of the lawsuits states. "They moved to other cities. They gave up school, jobs, and job opportunities. They uprooted their lives. But the promise was false. After Bloomberg lost the Democratic nomination, his campaign unceremoniously dumped thousands of staffers, leaving them with no employment, no income, and no health insurance."

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A representative said Bloomberg has been far more generous than most political campaigns by paying for several weeks of severance and healthcare through the end of March. The representative suggested that Bloomberg's DNC contribution will allow them to move on and work elsewhere for the party.

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