February 9, 2023

In New York City, Pandemic Job Losses Linger

Some blue-collar employees who lost their jobs early in the pandemic are now holding out for positions that would allow them to work from home.

Jade Campbell, 34, has been out of work since March 2020, when the pandemic temporarily shuttered the Old Navy store where she had worked as a sales associate. When the store called her back in the fall, she was in the middle of a difficult pregnancy, with a first-grade son who was struggling to focus during online classes. She decided to stay home, applying for different types of government assistance.

Ms. Campbell now lives on her own in Queens without child care support; her children are 1 and 8 years old. She has refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a prerequisite in New York City for many in-person jobs. Still, she said she felt optimistic about applying for remote customer service roles after she reached out to Goodwill NYNJ, a nonprofit, for help with her résumé.

“I got two kids I know I have to support,” she said. “I can’t really depend on the government to help me out.”

At Petri Plumbing Heating in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, several workers quit over the city’s policy that employees of private businesses be fully vaccinated. The restriction was the most stringent in the country when it was announced in December 2021 at the end of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term.

After Mayor Eric Adams signaled earlier this year that his administration would not enforce the mandate, Michael Petri, the company’s owner, offered to rehire three former workers. One returned, another had found another job and the third had moved to another state, he said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/14/nyregion/nyc-covid-job-losses.html

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