Tigers pledge $1M to pay park staff; Comerica, LCA food and beverage workers still await word

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Ilitches have pledged another $1 million to help keep employees paid as the coronavirus continues to shut down scores of industries across the country.

This time, the $1 million is for Comerica Park employees, with Major League Baseball and the Tigers delaying the start of the season until mid-May, at the earliest.

Each of MLB's 30 teams committed $1 million to their ballpark employees, commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday.

Each of MLB's 30 teams committed $1 million to their ballpark employees, commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday.

He said in a statement:

"Over the past 48 hours, I have been approached by representatives of all 30 clubs to help assist the thousands of ballpark employees affected by the delay in the start of the Major League Baseball season.  Motivated by desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each Club has committed $1 million. The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities. The timing of these announcements will vary because of the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective bargaining obligations in an effort to maximize the benefits realized by each group of employees. I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”

The Tigers didn't immediately detail their plans for the $1 million. A message from The News wasn't immediately returned.

Earlier this month, Ilitch Holdings announced a $1-million fund to cover part-time game and event staff at Little Caesars Arena, home of the Pistons, Wings and a robust concert industry, and the Fox Theatre, as well as spring-training staff in Lakeland, Fla.

Ilitch Holdings said that first $1-million fund would cover, for at least one month, about 1,500 employees, of which about 500 work each Red Wings and Pistons game. The Pistons also have pledged to pay their game-day arena staff, and Pistons star Blake Griffin committed a $100,000 donation to arena workers. Since that announcement, the suspension of pro sports has been extended by at least another month. The ban on sports till at least mid-May means the cancellation or postponement of dozens of games and concerts.

That first Ilitch fund and the Pistons fund, however, don't cover food- and beverage-service workers at LCA, who, like at Comerica Park, are employed by the Sportservice branch of the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Delaware North. Delaware North employees also work at Hockeytown Cafe and at Detroit Metro Airport. Delaware North has more than 1,000 employees in the Metro Detroit area.

Delaware North, a multi-billion-dollar company owned by Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, runs food and beverage for more than 50 arenas on four continents. It has tens of thousands of workers (part-time, hourly, salary, etc.), and has not yet announced any plans to help pay them. A Delaware North spokesperson declined comment on its plans. 

As for the Ilitches, they also pledged to pay their workers at MotorCity Casino, at least through the temporary two-week shutdown announced this week.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984