One of the Democratic candidates for NYC mayor hoping to pull off a big upset in June's primary appears to be losing the support of her own staff.
Staffers for Dianne Morales campaign announced a work stoppage Thursday night, saying that the candidate fired several employees who were leading the effort to unionize campaign workers. The movement to unionize came after ongoing complaints of what they said is a toxic workspace.
They were also dissatisfied with how Morales addressed claims of harassment and abuse by campaign officials, saying they "only received vague and unclear statements on what would be done" to fix the problem.
In response, the campaign put out a statement saying Morales took "swift correction action" after she was made aware of "unacceptable behaviors" by two staff members. The campaign also said that more actions were taken on Thursday to "adjust the staff to ensure a strong push" to the primary.
The staffers attempting to unionize said that Morales "refused" to talk with them about the firings.
Morales herself said in a statement that the changes in personnel were "difficult but necessary" and that she was "grateful my staff came forward to dicuss allegations related to racially-based biases and sexual harassment claims" by the fired staff members.
The Democratic candidate — who has been trailing multiple candidates in polls leading up to the primary, but just had her best showing in a recent tally — said she immediately supported the team's motion to unionize when it was raised on Monday.
"While these conversations have been difficult, they have challenged not just me, but every campaign currently in progress to reconsider unionizing as a campaign standard moving forward," Morales' statement read. "It is truly what my campaign is about and I applaud my team for bringing forward the union."
In an interview with NY1 Thursday night, she said the union organizers do not reflect her campaign staff as a whole. She referenced other workers still with the campaign, calling the situation a "beautiful mess." On Friday, a spokesperson for the Morales campaign said that "Dianne has made it crystal clear that she supports organizing efforts."
Some members of her staff don't seem to share the candidate's outlook on the matter, however. Farudh Emiel Majid, who in a written statement said he was the senior Queens borough organizer for the Morales campaign, called on the candidate to suspend her campaign.
"Dianne Morales, while initially spearheading her mayoral bid as a radical, progressive candidate to represent, and centered marginalized voices, has instead weaponized her candidacy to create a hostile working environment towards Black and Brown staffers, demonstrating to be unfit to hold office in any substantial manner," Majid wrote. "In a landslide of structural failure of all accountable levels within Dianne for NYC, the Queens Borrough coalition was met with racial, financial, verbal, and mental abuse including but not limited to enduring three initial weeks without wage payment for field staffers while operating nearly 40+ hours in the field per week, enduring racially loaded attacks whilst being identified as "aggressive, tactical, and militant", and succumbing to an absolute loss of direct support in field operations.