Twitter Is Furious With NYC's Mayor Over His Comments About Food Workers

COVID-19 cases in New York City are up, per NYC Health. As a result, reports Reuters, many companies in the city have been walking back plans to have employees return to the office. While staying home may be in the interest of public health, it may also interfere with the city's economic recovery, according to (and much to the consternation of) newly elected mayor Eric Adams. "We have to open up,"  Adams told CNN (via ABC7). "What we must understand is the resiliency of returning back to a normal life. If we don't open our cities, there are almost a million people that are behind in their rents right here in this city." 

As reasonable as that may sound, his point was lost on those who were distracted by something else Adams said in the press conference. While presumably trying to engender sympathy for workers whose employment may depend on New York City foot traffic, Adams said, "We have low-skilled employees who can't do remote employment from home or telecommuting." These "low skilled workers," he added, "don't have the academic skills to sit in a corner office." Following his remarks, Twitter is furious, particularly about Adams' comments appearing to dismiss the skills of food industry workers.

Twitter takes issue with Adams' use of the phrase, "low-skilled"

"My low-skilled workers — my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those who work at Dunkin' Donuts, they don't have the academic skills to skit in a corner office," Adams said during a January 4 press conference while pleading for a return to in-person work to boost commerce (via Newsweek). Now the mayor is facing the wrath of social media for classifying employees who don't do office work as "low-skilled." 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared a tweet reading, "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." Restaurant owner and Twitter user @centerfluid chimed in, "I challenge any human to handle a board full of orders as long as the eye can see, and get orders out on time and correct, then tell me that is 'low skill.'" Another user took note of the irony in Adams' choice of words: "Umm, how are 'Essential workers' of 2020 now the 'low academic skill' workers of 2022?" (via Twitter). It doesn't appear that Adams has responded to these criticisms as of this writing.