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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Dark Side of Bloomberg

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under  way.  

Democrats dodged a bullet with Bloomberg, who has a rather significant dark side.

Bloomberg promised that he would keep his campaign staff on payroll through November.  He broke his word, and as Juana Summers reports at NPR, former staffers are angry:
Donna Wood in Miami lost her job on a March 20 conference call.
"It was read off a script from HR, and then it was like, 'Goodbye, you can hang up now,' " she said in an interview. "It was a low blow. I felt very used and very kicked to the curb, after all that I had given to the campaign in the short time that I did work for it."
Asked how he feels now about the assurances he made as a recruiter to potential staffers, [Amol] Jethwani said, "Mike borrowed my credibility and abused it in that moment.""It was read off a script from HR, and then it was like, 'Goodbye, you can hang up now,' " she said in an interview. "It was a low blow. I felt very used and very kicked to the curb, after all that I had given to the campaign in the short time that I did work for it."
"Any time a candidate takes on staff, the staff executing that candidate's message utilize their own credibility to carry that message. That's how persuasive organizing really works," Jethwani said. "Or even, in the hiring process it's 'this candidate assured me that I have a job through November, and you have a job through November, so that's why I am assuring you that you have a job through November.'"

Former field organizers for Bloomberg's campaign have filed proposed class action lawsuits, where these complaints have been detailed in court documents. Wood filed the first breach of contract suit last month. (View a second proposed class action lawsuit against the campaign here.)
It has grown from one plaintiff to roughly 80.
 The complaint in Wood's case alleges that the Bloomberg campaign "deprived [staff] of promised income and health care benefits, leaving them and their families potentially uninsured in the face of a global pandemic."
Also at NPR, David Folkenflik:
Michael Bloomberg's short-lived presidential bid reignited a long-simmering dispute over the widespread use of nondisclosure agreements at American corporations — especially at his own.
His namesake company, Bloomberg LP, has used nondisclosure agreements broadly to conceal allegations and silence complaints from employees of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment, as published reports have documented.
The story of one Bloomberg reporter and his wife showcases the widespread use of such legal restraints at the company — and how far their reach can extend.
Six years ago, Bloomberg News killed an investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China, fearful of repercussions by the Chinese government. The company successfully silenced the reporters involved. And it sought to keep the spouse of one of the reporters quiet, too.