Days into his four-year term, NYC Mayor Eric Adams is getting called out for comments he made during a recent press conference.
While addressing the Omicron Covid-19 variant surge and closures that have taken place as a result, Adams responded to inquiries about whether the city would “reopen” in April. Adams said waiting four months to reopen businesses is “too long.”
“January, February, March, April. Four months of not having this business patronized, not having a restaurant patronized, not having business travelers come here to the city to go to our hotels? That is going to be devastating for our economy,” Adams said before turning his attention to the people who keep that economy running.
“And I don’t know if my businesses are sharing with their employees [but] you’re a part of the ecosystem of this city,” he said, before generalizing essential workers as “low-skilled.”
“My low-skilled workers –– my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe shine people, those who work at Dunkin’ Donuts,” he said, “They don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office. They need this. We are in this together, and we should be saying to ourselves, ‘If remotely do my job, then that store clerk is not going to be able to have the business he deserves,’ That’s what I need us to understand.”
Eric Adams just said “Low skill workers like cooks, messengers and Dunkin’ Donuts employees don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office” pic.twitter.com/KaoY9MNZ8J
— Achmat X (@AchmatX) January 4, 2022
In response to the remarks, Twitter called out the new mayor and more generally the jump from calling workers essential at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to “low-skilled.”
The jump from “essential worker” to “low skilled worker” is genuinely disgusting.
— Nai, the Internet’s Esthetician (@LaBeautyologist) January 5, 2022
Essential workers are often low-waged, underserved, underrated — but far from low-skilled.
The gag is that many of those workers in those cubicles with academic degrees that Adams was talking about often lack the skills that are ESSENTIAL…but y’all keep playing dumb.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) January 5, 2022
With a bachelor’s degree I worked part-time at Subway, as a receptionist, and as a cashier at a department store. I sold mattresses with a master’s degree. I also am human enough to know that your job does not dictate your value. https://t.co/ogPQGAbqkT
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) January 4, 2022
“Low skilled workers” is a classist myth used to justify poverty wages. https://t.co/8cnJ4pUNQF
— Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) NY City Council 9 (@Kristin4Harlem) January 4, 2022
Anyone who uses the phrase “low skilled/unskilled labor” should have to hop right into one of those jobs and do it for a single day. Should be easy. There’s no skill involved. No thoughts, only labor. Come on, do it.
— Malfunctioning Factotum (@SilverAndDark) January 4, 2022
The suggestion that any job is “low skill” is a myth perpetuated by wealthy interests to justify inhumane working conditions, little/no healthcare, and low wages.
Plus being a waitress has made me and many others *better* at our jobs than those who’ve never known that life. https://t.co/dhkhBwyNWK
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 5, 2022
Mayor Adams seemingly responded to the backlash in tweet on Wednesday (January 5) talking about his own experience as a cook and dishwasher.
“I was a cook. I was a dishwasher. If nobody came to my restaurant when I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to survive. When you talk about closing down our city, you’re talking about putting low-wage workers out of a job. I’m not letting that happen,” he wrote.
I was a cook. I was a dishwasher. If nobody came to my restaurant when I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to survive. When you talk about closing down our city, you’re talking about putting low-wage workers out of a job. I’m not letting that happen.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) January 5, 2022