Madison Square Garden Demands Employees Return to Work or Use Personal Days

By Emma Harger

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City is still a mess, to say the least. There’s a huge divide between neighborhoods with and without power, long lines to get gas that look like a throwback from the 1970s, the MTA is slowly but steadily coming back online and people are struggling to put the pieces back together.

So what does Madison Square Garden, home of the NBA‘s New York Knicks and the NHL‘s New York Rangers (well, when that league isn’t locked out) and huge concert and holiday event venue, tell its employees? Note that the MSG umbrella includes Knicks and Rangers employees, the Fuse TV channel, MSG Network and the Beacon Theater, so there are many people who received this message.

According to an employee who obviously wishes to remain anonymous but sent their copy of an MSG employee mass email to Gawker, here’s the gist of it: Get back to work! We don’t care if your power is out, if you’re having health issues, if you have trouble getting to MSG. You either come back to work or start digging into your personal and vacation days to make up for it.

(The question remains, though: what if you don’t have power right now, but are an MSG employee, so you have no idea that an email has been sent telling you to get back into the office ASAP?)

Earlier this year, MSG Inc.’s executive chairman, James Dolan, took an anti-union stance when Brooklyn-based Cablevision technicians voted to unionize. He said that he wanted management to manage in such a way that employees would not think “somebody else can better represent you than yourself.”

But asking people who have just been adversely affected by one of the biggest storms in recent U.S. history to disregard the basic issues they’re having right now and get back to work, or be affected even more adversely by losing pay and vacation time if they need more time to pick up the pieces, is just heartless. Dolan should be ashamed of himself if he had anything to do with approving this policy, which he most likely did.

Funny enough, two events scheduled for this week, a Meat Loaf concert and an NBA game at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, have been canceled or rescheduled. An MSG employee meeting was also postponed indefinitely. Someone seems to understand that there are bigger things to worry about right now.

Too bad it’s apparently not the right someone.

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