Baltimore Orioles: Mixed Messages on Paying Stadium Employees
Professional sports, including everything involving the Baltimore Orioles, has been in limbo for a month.
During this time, professional athletes have been receiving paychecks. But in a recent op-ed posted in The Baltimore Sun, it appears that employees who would be supporting the Baltimore Orioles and their fans have not.
The op-ed from Roxie Herbekian claims, “They [concession workers] haven’t heard anything from the team or the Orioles’ concessions contractor, Delaware North, on whether they will receive support during this unprecedented crisis.”
Herbekian is the president of the UNITE HERE 7, the local hospitality union that represents the concessions workers at Camden Yards and other workers in the Baltimore Area. In mid-March, the union asked Peter Angelos and the Orioles help the hourly workers who were suddenly laid off when professional sports came to a halt.
The employees still haven’t heard from the Orioles or from Delaware North. Keep in mind that many of these workers make less than $15 per hour, and that some have supported Orioles fans since days when games were played at Memorial Stadium.
According to an announcement from the MLB on March 17, all MLB teams were committed to donating $1 million to support hospitality workers at their parks.
Some MLB teams have committed more than $1 million to their concessions and ballpark employees. According to several sources, the Red Sox front office has added $500,000 to their pool of money for concessions workers.
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According to a post in FanGraphs, the Orioles concessions workers are not the only ones who have yet to be paid. In most parks, concessions workers are not employed by the MLB, but by employers like Aramark, Delaware North, and Levy Restaurants. In Colorado, the Rockies have been paying their Event Services employees (think ushers and security services), but not those who work for their food service contractor. As of early April, the Nationals also have not been paying concessions workers employed by Levy Restaurants.
It takes a village to keep an MLB stadium running. While players on the field, there are hundreds of workers making sure the fans are enjoying themselves. People like ushers, security workers, cooks, and concessions workers have direct contact with fans.
The Orioles have the lowest payroll in the MLB, and should be able to offer some support to its most vulnerable workers. In Herbekian’s op-ed, she quoted Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who said that teams will “define their brand for decades” based on how they treat all of their workers. Hopefully, the Orioles and Delaware North will do what is right as we enter this unprecedented time.