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Monday's coronavirus roundup: MLB can cut pay, lay off managers on May 1

Ronald Blum
Associated Press

New York — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has made a move that allows teams to lay off or cut the pay of major and minor league managers, coaches, trainers and full-time scouts starting May 1.

Manfred has suspended uniform employee contacts that cover about 9,000 people, including general managers on some teams. Manfred cited the inability to play games due to the national emergency caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

More:Ilitch: Tigers have no plans to layoff non-player employees

“Our clubs rely heavily on revenue from tickets/concessions, broadcasting/media, licensing and sponsorships to pay salaries,” Manfred wrote in an email Monday, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press. “In the absence of games, these revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced, and clubs will not have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations.”

“The impact of the suspension of the UEC on your personal employment situation will be determined by your club,” Manfred said.

Manfred’s intention to suspend the contracts was first reported by The Athletic.

Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minnesota, the New York Yankees, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Toronto are among the teams that have committed to paying full-time employees through May, and Miami will pay full-time baseball operations staff through the month. The Cubs will pay those on UECs and front-office staff through their May 29 paychecks, and Detroit said it has no plans for layoffs or furloughs.

Major League Rule 3(i) requires that UECs must be signed by all managers, coaches, trainers and salaried scouts, and some teams include additional baseball operations staff.

“Pursuant to the terms of the UEC, the club’s exclusive right to your services will remain in effect during the period of the suspension such that you will not be permitted to perform services for any other club,” Manfred wrote. “I fully recognize the hardship that this health crisis creates for all members of the baseball community. Central baseball and the clubs are doing everything possible to try to minimize this impact for as many employees as possible.”

Manfred said the Baseball Assistance Team charitable organization “is available to consider grant applications on an expedited basis for those facing significant and immediate financial hardship.”

More baseball

The company that makes Louisville Slugger wood baseball bats has closed its factory, furloughed 90 percent of its employees and shut its popular museum.

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. says it has continued to cover all health-care benefits for its 171 furloughed workers. The remaining 10% of employees have taken 25 percent pay cuts.