With Major League Baseball shut down due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the likelihood of resuming the 2020 season still largely unknown, the job status of some employees within the 30 teams has seemed tenuous.
Like so many businesses during the pandemic, the possibility of layoffs and furloughs have lingered for employees typically under contract for an entire season.
In an attempt to avoid layoffs or furloughs, the Mariners will reduce the salaries of employees under MLB’s Uniform Employee Contract (UEC), including general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais.
A Mariners source confirmed a report from The Athletic that said there would be salary reductions but declined to comment. The team usually does not discuss the status of employees.
Beginning Monday, employees under a UEC were informed by the team that there would be no layoffs or furloughs for UEC employees through the end of the of the baseball year, which is Oct. 31.
They were also told their benefits would continue through that time. These employees included the major-league coaching staff, coaches and coordinators in the minor-league system, scouts, members of the baseball analytics staff and performance coaches.
To do that, UEC employees with a salary of more than $60,000 must accept a minimum-salary reduction of 20 percent. Others who have larger salaries, such as Dipoto, will take a higher percentage reduction.
This decision was the next step after MLB’s decision April 20 to suspend operation of all UEC contracts for non-playing baseball personnel, effective May 1. That move by commissioner Rob Manfred meant teams could furlough, lay off or reduce the pay of those employees.
“Our clubs rely heavily on revenue from tickets/concessions, broadcasting/media, licensing and sponsorships to pay salaries,” Manfred wrote in an email to teams, 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,” he wrote.
At the time of that announcement, the Mariners informed those employees they would receive full pay and benefits through May 31. More than half of the teams in baseball made similar decisions. The Mariners’ organization also promised those employees they would provide transparency and information about the financial plans moving forward well before the May 31 deadline, so they could prepare.
Some of the staff will receive a five-month pay reduction, and more than half of the affected employees under a UEC did not have pay reduced because they were at or below $60,000.
The San Diego Padres announced at the time of MLB’s UEC suspension that at least half of their employees would remain through the October deadline regardless of whether games are played. But they haven’t updated their payment plan for the remainder of the season.
Free COVID-19 testing
The Mariners, with the City of Seattle and Kroger, will offer free drive-through COVID-19 testing to the public Wednesday.
Testing begins at 10 a.m. and will be held at the parking garage across the street from T-Mobile Park. The address is 1250 1st Ave. S.
Everyone must wear a face masks and observe social-distancing guidelines. An appointment is required. Information: KrogerHealth.com/COVIDTesting or 888-852-2567.