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Should Teams Be Compensating Part-Time Staff?

Who should be stepping up to help part-time arena workers who are worried about their income with stoppages in all major sports?

There’s a fairly pronounced issue making its way around social media Saturday as NHL teams announce their intention to help part-time arena workers and other clubs stay silent, suggesting they won’t.

Insiders, athletes and media have come out in droves with their opinions, most of which are condemning organizations that are not willing to put up the money needed to ensure part-time staff don’t suffer without income during these league suspensions. Among the most blunt was Sportsnet’s Sid Seixeiro who tweeted, “Tip of the cap to all the organizations and athletes who’ve financially taken care of arena staff during this public health emergency.” He added, “Any team still looking at the bottom line can seriously go f*** themselves.”

Tell us how you really feel, Sid.

Some teams have outright said they’ll look after their employees. Others have offered assistance for teams who have employees who require it. Some franchises have sent out public notices, (like the Calgary Flames) explaining their reasoning for not paying employees. They wrote in an email to their employees:

“Alberta Employment Standards requires that employers provide 24 hours’ notice for cancellation of scheduled shifts. CSEC will pay employees where the notification of cancellation was less than 24 hours. No payment will be made for shifts cancelled with greater than 24 hours’ notice.”

The public perception of the Flames organization on Saturday is taking a hit today in a major way. They aren’t the only ones.

Other clubs have offered assistance based on individual need. At least that’s something.

Other owners are under the false impression this pause might be short-lived. The Buffalo Sabres Terry Pegula said he’s not made the gesture for employees yet because he believes the NHL will start back up again and, as such, these employees will be paid. He wants to wait for games to be officially canceled before deciding to do anything about his staff.

Talk about ignoring the obvious.

NHL Players Have Stepped Up

Some players have stepped forward and offered their support. While contributions have varied, from Sergei Bobrovsky giving $100,000 to others donating $1000 to a GoFundMe page set up by Brad Marchand, NHL’ers are doing their part to ensure these employees have something.

Meanwhile, the Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is worth 4 billion dollars and is in the 500 richest people on earth. He’s taking some heat today because he’s not stepped up and also has a history of being cheap. This is the same owner who signed a number of Bruins before the 2013 lockout and then asked for a salary rollback days later, Marchand included.

But, it is up to them?

Sure, $1000 for a player like David Pastrnak is a drop in the bucket. Likely less than the equivalent of about one minute’s worth of ice time. Even the $100K some players have donated isn’t going to greatly affect them. But, is it really up to these players to be doing what the billionaire owners should?

Of the 15-plus teams that haven’t stepped up yet, 90% of these owners have enough money to drop in the $200K – $ 1 million without even blinking. Without breaking a sweat, they could help make these employees whole.

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