SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are going the extra mile to help ease some of the financial burdens their ballpark employees might be facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has postponed the start of the 2020 regular season.
In addition to the $1 million that each Major League team has committed to stadium employees, Giants owners and executives have raised $700,000 to assist approximately 2,600 workers who regularly staff Oracle Park during games and events.
"[Ballpark] workers are, in our view, the backbone of what we do," president and CEO Larry Baer said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "They're the people that work hard, work diligently and serve our fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport and our business. Without games, obviously, many of them will encounter hardship."
Baer and vice president and general counsel Jack Bair announced the creation of two programs that they hope will help their event-based staff get by while baseball is on an indefinite hiatus. The Giants Emergency Fund will benefit all stadium workers, including those employed by third-party vendors, such as concession workers, parking lot attendants and retail workers.
Approximately 2,000 employees are expected to apply for a one-time grant of $500, though the Giants could finance a second round if there are funds left over, or if more money is raised in the coming weeks.
The second program will be reserved for stadium workers who are directly employed by the Giants, such as ushers, security guards, maintenance staff and ticket vendors. They will receive a monthly supplement ranging from $100-$250 depending on their length of service and hours worked in 2019.
All workers are also encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits, which provide $50-$450 per week from the state and an additional $600 per week from the federal government, according to Bair. Giants executives also made sure that their financial assistance programs will not disqualify ballpark employees from filing for unemployment.
“The benefits that we’re offering, in addition to unemployment, should roughly equate to what people would have made if the games were played,” Bair said.
“That was the benchmark we tried to use,” Baer added. “It’s not going to be perfect, but we tried to use that as a benchmark at least.”
The Giants have maintained a skeleton staff at Oracle Park since the shelter-in-place order took effect on March 17, with only certain members of the security, payroll and IT departments continuing to work on site. All other full-time employees have been advised to work from home.
The Giants were in the process of altering their outfield dimensions to make room for their new bullpens, which are being relocated from foul territory, but Baer said that work has been stalled as a result of the shelter-in-place order.
“We are not doing that work right now, but we have the timeline available to allow for when we know we would have a game at Oracle Park,” Baer said. “We would have enough lead time to perform that work as long as we have the go-ahead for the crews.”
The Giants have been permitted to continue with certain aspects of their Mission Rock development, though construction workers are taking precautions and adhering to social-distancing guidelines.
“There are certain essential services that are defined in the [shelter-in-place] order that can continue,” Baer said. “Mission Rock, because of the affordable housing, there are elements of that work that are continuing. A lot of what we’re doing with Mission Rock is still in the planning phase and working on a programmatic effort, so that’s being done with Zoom calls and with connectivity between ourselves, developers and third parties.”