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Bloomberg to pay laid-off staffers' health care through November amid lawsuits, public pressure

nbcnews.com— Josh Lederman and Maura Barrett

Mike Bloomberg is agreeing to pay for health care through November for the more than 2,000 campaign staffers he laid off after suspending his presidential bid as he faces public pressure and multiple lawsuits over allegations he let go of workers he’d promised to keep employed through the 2020 election.

The human resources department for Bloomberg’s now-defunct campaign notified former staffers of the decision in an email Monday that was obtained by NBC News. The email says it’s a “difficult and stressful time” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 reads.

The former staffers were set to lose their health care at the end of April, about a month after they got their last paychecks.

Asked to comment, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson said the insurance costs would be covered for former staffers “who haven't secured other coverage."

There are multiple lawsuits pending against Bloomberg’s campaign by old staffers alleging the campaign fraudulently promised jobs through November, then laid everyone off after he dropped out of the race in March. One lawsuit that has more than 100 plaintiffs is seeking certification as a class action for allegations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lead attorney on that case, Sally Abrahamson, called the health care decision “a great development.”

“We think this is likely the result of the work of our over 100 brave clients who came forward and spoke up about what was happening. Our case still moves forward to recover promised wages and unpaid overtime,” Abrahamson said.

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