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MLB stars extend help to stadium workers while Dodgers and Angels employees wait

Dodger Stadium workers prep the field for Game 5 of the NLDS on Oct. 9, 2019.
Dodger Stadium workers prep the field for Game 5 of the NLDS last fall.
(Arash Markazi / Los Angeles Times)

With the baseball season postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic, two major league stars extended financial help Saturday to the stadium workers that suddenly have no work.

Houston Astros outfielder George Springer announced a $100,000 donation to workers at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer organized a GoFundMe page where fans could donate to benefit workers throughout the league, kicking in $10,000 on his own while setting a goal of $1 million.

“We don’t know if we’re getting paid,” Bauer said on a video he released on Twitter, “but, even for the support staff and the people working, and people who rely on their jobs during the season at the stadium to be able to feed their families and put food on their tables, to get medical supplies, health care, whatever the case is, are they getting paid or not?

“If that extends out a month, two months, what are those people going to do — if they’re not getting paid — to be able to provide for their family?”

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On Saturday, in a letter from the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and AEG, Staples Center employees were informed that the teams and the arena management would “pay hourly event employees for shifts lost for all sporting events they were scheduled to work (that do not take place) through the end of the NBA and NHL regular seasons.” The total financial relief is expected to exceed $5 million.

The union that represents workers at Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium wrote Thursday to the owners of all local teams, asking them to maintain wages and benefits for the newly jobless workers. The union has not received a response from either the Dodgers or Angels, spokeswoman Maria Hernandez said Saturday.

Dodgers spokesman Joe Jareck and Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey have not responded to inquiries from The Times.

Compensation of stadium workers “is on the long list of issues that will be discussed” in the wake of the major league shutdown, an MLB official said Saturday. He said individual clubs are discussing the issue as well.

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The Lakers have 10 scheduled home games left in the regular season, the Clippers nine, and the Kings seven. In baseball, each team plays 81 regular-season home games. NBA and NHL arena workers are losing wages now because games were canceled during the season. Workers at Dodger and Angel stadiums won’t lose wages until next Sunday, the first day of the Freeway Series, so teams have a week to determine whether they will be paid.

Stories examining the impact the spread of the coronavirus has had on the NBA, NHL, MLB, the NCAA tournament and the rest of the sports world.

On Thursday, MLB said the start of the regular season would be pushed back from March 26 to at least April 9, although it is considered unlikely that the season would open before May. The governor of Illinois said the owners of teams in that state — the Chicago Cubs and White Sox among them — have agreed not to play home games before May 1.

PLEDGE TRACKER

Professional players who have pledge donations to event staff at arenas and stadiums

— Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: The first player to donate money to event staff at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in the amount of $100,000.

— Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff.

— Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff.

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— Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons: $100,000 to staff of Little Caesars Arena.

— Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans: Paying the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for the next 30 days.

— George Springer, Houston Astros: $100,000 to staff at Minute Maid Park.

— Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds: Organized a GoFundMe page where fans could donate to benefit workers throughout the league, kicking in $10,000 on his own and setting a goal of $1 million.

— Jeremy Lin, former NBA player: Announced that he was donating $150,000 to UNICEF to help fight the coronavirus. Lin also donated the same amount to the China Foundation.

— Golden State Warriors ownership, players and coaches: Donated $1 million to provide assistance to those who work at Chase Center.

Note: More than half of NBA teams and a few NHL teams reportedly have said they are finalizing plans to reimburse workers for lost wages. The employees range from ushers, concession vendors and ticket-takers who work for the arenas, to part-time employees like game-night performers. MLB teams have not been as responsive yet, but their regular season won’t begin for at least a month.


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