More than 2,000 food service employees at Oracle Park and Chase Center to be laid off

Empty stands and a lack of fans prompt major cuts for arena, ballpark workers

More than 2,000 food service employees at Oracle Park and Chase Center will be laid off Wednesday, according to Bon Appétit Management Company.

Bon Appétit, the food service provider at the venues, will cut 2,154 food service employees who work at the stadiums, including 667 hourly union employees who work at Chase Center, 737 hourly union employees who work at Oracle Park, and 660 hourly union employees who split their time between the two venues, said Bon Appétit spokesperson Jenny Slafkosky.

She added that 50 non-union hourly supervisors at Chase Center, home to the Golden State Warriors, and 40 non-union hourly supervisors at Oracle Park, home to the San Francisco Giants, will also be laid off.

Marc Norton, a cashier at the venues, received an email Monday about his layoff at Oracle Park. While he has not received a layoff notice for his post at Chase Center, he told The Examiner Tuesday morning that he expects to hear from the company at any moment.

“Personally, I’ll get through this. I’m 70 years old and I have a decent living situation. I’ve got my social security. Money from the ballpark and Chase Center really helps, but I’ll be able to get by without it. But there’s plenty of people who were on that list who are having a real hard time,” Norton said of employees who will be laid off at Oracle Park.

Confronted with financial hardships during the public health crisis, the Giants has also made reductions to their workforce. The team has furloughed about 1,000 employees since April, including part-time event staff in and part-time front office staff, according to Matt Chisholm, spokesperson for the Giants. He said the Giants has offered furloughed employees a grant and payments to supplement unemployment benefits.

Bon Appétit was hopeful that Oracle Park would reopen at full capacity when it placed employees on furlough in March, according to Slafkosky. But state restrictions for large public gatherings mean that the ballpark will not be open to fans in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Giants are set to play their home opener against the San Diego Padres Tuesday, and the shortened 60-game Major League Baseball season will continue without fans present at the ballpark.

“Therefore, the food service that Bon Appétit provides for the millions of fans that visit Oracle Park each season is not currently needed,” Slafkosky said in an email. “For this reason, the Bon Appétit management team has come to the tough realization that it’s time to eliminate these positions.”

Union employees of UNITE HERE Local 2 and Teamsters Local 853 who are part of a union contract at Oracle Park will have recall rights for 12 months, according to an email from Bon Appétit to Norton regarding his post at the venue. If the company seeks to hire for a position that was held by an eligible worker, or a substantially similar position, Bon Appétit must first offer the position to an eligible worker.

“Stadium concessions workers are too often forgotten when we talk about the pandemic’s impact on sports, but few have been as hard-hit as game day workers,” said Ted Waechter in a statement, a spokesperson for UNITE HERE Local 2.

“Our union recently won 24-months of recall rights for workers at the Warriors’ Chase Center, and we’ll be negotiating for the same standard at Oracle Park,” he added. “Oracle Park’s concessions workers are part of the Giants family, and now’s the time for this team to support workers in a way that truly meets the moment.”

nchan@sfexaminer.com

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