NEW YORK — After working for weeks to help elect Dianne Morales as Mayor, Friday dozens of campaign staffers held a march and protest outside the candidate’s midtown Manhattan office.
But now, the group said they would not return to work until Morales addressed their concerns over sexual and racial harassment, eliminated gender pay gaps and supported their efforts to unionize.
“The goal of this union and this collective is not to tear down, it is not to end the Morales bid,” said Deputy Campaign Manager Nia Evans.
“I became aware a couple of weeks ago of allegations of a white staff member engaging on what staff experienced as racist behaviors, and the other was that I became aware of a staff member who was allegedly harassing, sexually harassing some of the women on the team,” said Morales.
Another staffer described a gender pay gap to PIX11 News.
“The white man that ended up working under me was making more money than me even though I was promoted to work above him,” said the staffer. “At least a thousand dollars more a month.”
Earlier this week, several members of team Morales resigned, including her campaign manager.
Dozens of the remaining staffers demanded change and to have their union recognized.
“They wanted to unionize and I immediately without hesitation said absolutely,” Morales said Friday morning.
But Thursday, four union leaders were fired.
“The four people in question were people that came up as people that needed to be removed so that we could actually have the structure that we need to move forward,” said Morales.
That’s when staffers decided it was time to march. They showed up outside Morales’ Midtown headquarters with a list of demands. They want the fired union leaders reinstated and access to their belongings, saying Morales locked them out of the offices.
PIX11 News asked Evans if New Yorkers should still give Morales their vote.
“I think voters have to make their own decisions,” Evans said. “I can speak to the fact that Dianne has the opportunity to communicate to voters how she would run this city.”