BOSTON (CBS) — With the Bruins and Celtics seasons on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, part-time workers at TD Garden have been laid off, according to a letter obtained by the Boston Globe.
TD Garden workers who are employed part-time received a letter from Delaware North — the company that owns the arena — on Tuesday, letting them know that they “will not be scheduled until the conditions at our unit allows us to resume normal operations.”
“The coronavirus has had significant implications across all of Delaware North’s lines of business, including at your unit,” the letter read. “All the major sports leagues suspended their seasons, governments are requiring closures and reduction of capacity at certain venues, tourism has declined, events have been canceled, and more people are simply staying home. Due to this, the Company has no choice but to ensure that we are appropriately staffed.”
An employee said Tuesday’s letter was the first form of communication the arena has had with its workers during the pandemic. It said that some workers may be eligible for unemployment, but that doesn’t help everyone.
“It leaves me nowhere,” an anonymous part-time usher told the Globe. “I can’t go to the unemployment office, I have a pension, I have other income, but there are other people that this is what they do — they work every Bruins game, every Celtics game, every concert, every everything that shows up. Most of the guys I work with all have a day job — I work with people from the post office, I work with firemen, and most have day jobs, and this is a part-time job, supplementary income, I don’t see what we’re going to get for unemployment. It’s kind of an empty letter.”
A spokesperson for TD Garden and the Bruins told the Globe, “This decision was difficult, and we hope this situation is temporary.”
There is no timetable for when the NHL and NBA will return to action, putting TD Garden employees in an extremely difficult spot. Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who also owns Delaware North, announced over the weekend that they were putting $1.5 million aside to compensate employees for missed home games, but they won’t receive that compensation until Boston’s remaining six home games are officially canceled.
Jacobs, who has owned the Bruins since 1975, is worth $3.3 billion according to Forbes.
Update: Delaware North announced Wednesday that it was also placing 68 full-time salaried employees on temporary leave — with one week of paid leave and eight weeks of benefits, effective April 1, 2020. On that same day, 82 full-time salaried associates will also receive an indefinite salary reduction.
The statement said these measures are intended to be temporary, with compensation returning “once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”