by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A labor group plans to line its pockets with donations sent to an emergency fund that claims to help service-sector workers affected by the coronavirus.
The forced closure of restaurants amid the coronavirus outbreak has forced the service sector to furlough or terminate its employees, a major economic disruption that is expected to cost workers between $300 to $400 million per month in New York City alone. In response, One Fair Wage (OFW), a labor group, set up the “Emergency Coronavirus Affected Workers Support Fund” on Monday to pay $213 in cash to any tipped and service-sector workers in 10 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. OFW’s “no-strings-attached cash assistance” for workers comes with some major caveats: Workers must sign up for OFW, “participate in a confirmation interview” to qualify, and kick back a portion of donations to organizers, while the group will pocket any unclaimed donations for its own purposes.
The group asked supporters to contribute to the fund, but it is unclear how much of that money will end up in the hands of workers. It deducts an “administrative fee” from all donations, according to the website. Furthermore, OFW will pocket all unclaimed money to fuel its activism if not enough people claim the stipend.