San Francisco—AT&T Park concessionaire Centerplate said a strike at today’s baseball game by Local 2 Unite Here will not interrupt service to fans at the ballpark.
“Centerplate is prepared with senior managers and additional staff to ensure fans enjoy today’s baseball game and can get hotdogs, garlic fries, beer, soft drinks and other foods as they normally would,” said Centerplate spokesman Sam Singer.
Centerplate believes “this labor action by Local 2 is unnecessary, unfortunate and illegal. The timing of the strike, coming as it does on Memorial Day Weekend, continues a disturbing pattern of disrespect for the military, veterans and servicemen and servicewomen by the UNITE HERE leaders. Remember this is the same union whose President previously made derogatory remarks against veterans and veteran’s organizations during negotiations,” Singer said.
“Centerplate values our employees. That is why they are already the highest paid staff in the concession business, earning between $15 and $20 an hour, receiving full healthcare and other benefits for their part time work,” he added.
Centerplate has bargained in good faith and offered union members:
- A 4.5 percent ratification bonus for those who worked more than 40 games in 2012
- A 1.7 percent annual wage increase on top of the best compensation package in the industry
- Increased contribution of 9.2 percent to the Unite Here benefit plans
- Employer paid health care for employees and their families
Centerplate this week filed a lawsuit against Local 2 Unite Here for attempting to illegally mandate the signing of a “successor addendum” that would bind any future concessionaire at AT&T Park to the same terms Local 2 negotiates with Centerplate. This action is illegal under the federal labor laws, Centerplate officials said.
The lawsuit says Local 2 President Michael Casey seeks to end Centerplate’s relationship with nonprofit organizations, forcing out such groups as St. Teresa Music and Arts, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Athletes Committed to Academics, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, the United States Navy, and other nonprofits, from working at the stadium to raise money for their charitable works.
“Local 2’s President scoffed at the value of the (nonprofit) program, stating that the U.S. Navy did not need to work a stand at the ballpark to pay for prosthetic limbs for wounded Veterans,” the lawsuit states. “Casey also quipped about the Marines, “‘Why don’t you have them man a boat and they can sell hot dogs on the water,’” according the Centerplate lawsuit against Local 2.
The nonprofits make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through partnering with Centerplate at baseball games by staffing concession stands and earning commissions based upon sales for their charitable work. Local 2 is now demanding Centerplate pay a penalty of $200 for each volunteer used for charitable work, which would eliminate Centerplate’s ability to partner with nonprofits.
“Local 2 has overstepped the bounds of the law and of humanity,” said spokesman Singer. This past week, Local 2 union leaders walked out on contract negotiations with Centerplate and a Federal Mediator, refusing to accept or to even make an economic counter proposal and thereby denying, for the time being, Centerplate’s employees at AT&T Park the economic benefits that would flow from a new contract.
Centerplate, which manages concessions at 300 ballparks and arenas, said its current contract as well as its new offer keeps AT&T Park employees the highest paid in the concession business.
Local 2 Unite Here publically acknowledged that Centerplate’s employees are already the highest paid workers in the concession industry. In a YouTube video posted on May 12, the union spokesperson is quoted saying, “so what if they’re (the employees) the best paid…that doesn’t mean anything.”
Centerplate said it wanted to make clear that this strike is a dispute between Local 2 Unite Here and Centerplate and not the San Francisco Giants.