*Newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams has responded to the outrage over his “low-skill worker” comments.
The controversy began during a Monday press conference when Adams urged New Yorkers to return to their office jobs. He expressed concern over working remotely and noted the potential impact on the service industry.
“I don’t know if my businesses are sharing with their employees, ‘You are part of the ecosystem of this city,’” Adams said at Brooklyn Borough Hall. “My low-skill workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those that work in Dunkin’ Donuts, they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office. They need this.”
“That accountant — I need him to go to the cleaners. I need him to go down to Dunkin’ Donuts. I need him to go to the restaurant. I need him to bring in the business traveling,” he continued. “And if we say that, ‘Well, I don’t have to go in. I’m still getting my salary,’ then you are not helping those New Yorkers who need us to come in.”
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
Adams’ remarks sparked backlash on social media, with New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeting: “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,” she stated AOC, who famously worked as a bartender/waitress during her congressional campaign.
“Plus being a waitress has made me and many others *better* at our jobs than those who’ve never known that life,” AOC added.
Adam, a 61-year-old former police officer, reacted to the backlash and explained his position during a Wednesday appearance on CBS This Morning.
“Listen, I was a cook, I was a dishwasher,” the Democratic lawmaker began (8:11). “… The goal is we need to open the city so low-wage employees are able to survive.People are going to try to take everything I say and distort it, but I’m focused, I’m disciplined, and I’m grinding to bring my city back.”
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
Adams later noted on Twitter that he intends to look out for “low-wage workers” by making sure they still had jobs amid the COVID-19 surge.
“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 tweeted.