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American Kennel Club Employees Outraged About Return to NYC Offices

American Kennel Club Employees Outraged About Return to NYC Offices

Amid a larger cultural reckoning with race following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, employees at the historic American Kennel Club were hoping to join a number of other companies and organizations in making Juneteenth a company holiday.

Instead, while the nonprofit’s staff were hard at work that day, they received a brief email: Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, they would have to return to the AKC’s Midtown Manhattan office within a week.

“As you have heard, the good news is that New York City will move to Phase 2 on Monday, June 22, 2020, allowing our office to return to operating as a workplace,” said a letter from the organization’s executive team, adding: “Understandably, changes are sometimes challenging, and we appreciate your flexibility during this difficult time.”

Beginning last Monday, New York officially allowed workers not classified as essential to return to offices in Manhattan. Among the companies and organizations that took the full plunge back into office life was the AKC, the large, 136-year-old nonprofit that acts as the governing body for America’s most famous dog shows and runs the world’s largest purebred dog registry.

Of course, while the organization has enthusiastically embraced a return to work, employees are less than pleased. The Daily Beast spoke to numerous AKC employees who all expressed distress or anger about the return to the office, specifically lamenting the lack of clear explanation for the decision, the potential for another NYC-centered coronavirus wave, potential hindrances to their ability to effectively work, and a chilly or at times tone-deaf response from management when staffers circulated a letter expressing their concerns.

“This is very terrifying,” one employee replied succinctly when asked about the situation.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, a spokesperson for the AKC did not respond to individual questions addressing the various employee concerns, but said the organization was “complying with state and city guidelines,” and emphasized that they were not aware of any staffers who had contracted COVID-19. 

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