African-Americans are going to bear the brunt as public-sector ...

World

African-Americans are going to bear the brunt as public-sector jobs are cut

Dramatic fall in tax receipts during pandemic forces US states and cities to lay off workers

Nicole Rogers

When 2020 began, Kyra Hahn was making a living by employing a time-tested strategy in the African-American community. The Denver native had found a job in the public sector — as a youth-services librarian in Portland, Oregon.

Then Covid-19 hit. Hahn’s work life grew “chaotic” as she dealt with rapidly evolving safety guidelines, a last-minute relocation of her branch and finally the news in August that her job was being eliminated as her library system responded to the pandemic. The next month, after weeks of union negotiations, she settled for a voluntary layoff.

“I had this delicate financial balance where I was able to maintain all my living expenses in Portland,” said Hahn, a 47-year-old who identifies as African-American and Korean-American. “But that was dependent on nothing going wrong.”..

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