During a press conference, Eric Adams said that low-skill workers don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office, leading to outrage.
As a new wave of the pandemic hits America, cities and states are struggling to contain the spread of the virus and looking at shutting down businesses again. New York City Mayor Eric Adams landed in soup after insulting "low-skill" workers while making an argument to keep businesses open during the pandemic. “I don’t know if my businesses are sharing with their employees, you’re a part of the ecosystem of this city,” said Adams, reported God.DailyDot. “My low-skill workers — my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe shine people, those who work in Dunkin’ Donuts — they don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office. They need this."
Reporter: Many workers don’t feel safe going back to work and employers want to delay back to office.— Achmat X (@AchmatX) January 4, 2022
Mayor Eric Adams came after he signed an executive order to reduce fines and penalties for small businesses from a wide range of government agencies. He was addressing the press to discuss the order and ways to keep the economy going. He added that closing the economy could be “devastating for our economy.” He then pointed to his own staff as an example. "If I 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.”
People slammed Adams' comments for insulting workers and also for trying to guilt those who choose to stay home to protect themselves and their families. New York has witnessed a 128% increase in Coronavirus cases, and a 158% increase in deaths, over the past two weeks, according to New York Times. Adams was called out for claiming any kind of work is unskilled. Many also pointed out that intelligence or academic skills weren't necessarily the criteria for 'skilled' jobs. So many with bachelor’s and master's degrees work in the jobs described by Adams as unskilled. Similarly, people without any similar qualifications can be found in high offices and in Congress.
Eric Adams doesn't have the skills to work at Dunkin' Donuts. https://t.co/QLS8L04x5w— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) January 4, 2022
Not to mention that the government officials and businesses referred to many of the workers in these professions as "essential workers" including staff at grocery stores in an effort to get them to return to work at great personal risk to their lives during the height of the pandemic. The government even honored the essential workers last year only for some of the officials to turn around and label them "unskilled labor." It didn't sit well with many who took to Twitter to call out the Mayor. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out the Mayor pointing out that he was merely pushing a myth used to justify inhumane working conditions and low wages.
Here are some of the top replies to Adams' remarks:
This applies to much "skilled" labor too, there are a lot of people who seem to think they could be teachers or healthcare providers or whatever who would break down in sobs by the end of their first day.— preorder CHAOTIC NEUTRAL now (@edburmila) January 5, 2022
Your lack of respect for a profession doesn't make it an easy job.
Can we pinpoint when “essential” turned into “low skilled” work? pic.twitter.com/myfwdpi1Ke— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) January 5, 2022
Anyone in a corner office can come try our “low skill” work anytime pic.twitter.com/kUWy5cWALj— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) January 5, 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.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 5, 2022
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
2020: “essential workers”— Mac (@GoodPoliticGuy) January 4, 2022
2022: “low skilled workers”
The only unskilled workers are politicians— Alex Peter (@LolOverruled) January 5, 2022
Any “low skilled worker” could go to an office job and smack a keyboard to put numbers into a spreadsheet, but no office worker could handle an understaffed Friday lunch rush— Joey⚡️ (@joeygllghr) January 5, 2022
it's wild that "unskilled" labor is the labor that society literally collapses without.— Kimberly Nicole Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) 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
Also, this is why we need to challenge the notion — particularly for Black, Indigenous and Latino folks — that a college education makes you elite. Many of us got our educations, our “academic skills,” and still had to work low-wage service jobs at some point after.— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) January 4, 2022
I didn’t go to college, I don’t have a degree. I’ve worked many entry level jobs over the years. For some of us, we just want to be comfortable and happy, some of us never wanted the corner office, big car, private jet lifestyle. That doesn’t make us less than.— Michelle Lafaille (@MicLafaille) January 5, 2022
Some of the least skilled, least useful people on this planet have corner offices.— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) January 4, 2022
The jump from “essential worker” to “low skilled worker” is genuinely disgusting.— Nai, the Internet’s Esthetician (@LaBeautyologist) January 5, 2022
Y’all don’t be wanting other people to make more because your identity is tied to your salary. Harder to look down on McDonalds workers if they getting closer to your desk job money ain’t it?— ....... (@PrinceHAK33M) January 3, 2022
After being called out, Mayor Eric Adams tried to justify his comments, writing, "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." It appears Adams is still missing the point. No one is angry at the mayor for trying to make an argument for keeping businesses open as a way to help workers, or as he says, low-wage workers. It was about ascertaining value or the need for skill to a job position based on income. A low-wage worker isn't unskilled. End of.
people who call fast food or retail workers "low skill" would absolutely d*e if they had to work a single saturday night 3rd shift at waffle house— ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ɪ'ᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴏ ꜰʀɪᴇɴᴅ (@fatnudes) January 4, 2022