Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

City's pandemic furloughs hit women, people of color hardest, Minneapolis report finds


Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Furloughs at the city of Minneapolis triggered by the pandemic disproportionately affected women and employees of color. The city's emergency response departments were less affected. Above, firefighters put out a fire at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in northeast Minneapolis in April.

When Minneapolis leaders announced plans last year for furloughs of hundreds of city workers amid a pandemic-driven financial crisis, they said they were doing all they could to spread the pain evenly. But in reality, women - especially women of color - bore the brunt of austerity measures designed to help fill an estimated $156 million budget hole, according to a new internal report.

The "action review" found that nearly 72% of the 365 female employees who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) were forced to take unpaid days off. The as-yet-unpublished report said that the city's cost-saving process had been opaque and needlessly rushed, while failing to live up to the city's publicly stated commitment to racial equity.

"The pandemic was used as the reason this could not have been done as the city was 'bleeding money' that needed to be stopped immediately. Or it was used as an anomaly," wrote the report authored by members of the City Coordinator's Office.


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