As the NHL lockout drags on, the Minnesota Wild announced that the bulk of their two hundred full-time employees will be forced to take a 20% pay cut, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The cuts will be delayed until after Christmas.
In addition, over five hundred people who work part time or on commission–such as ushers, parking attendants, concession workers, etc., have lost significant amounts of income due to the lack of games.
The two sides are reportedly not that far apart in their financial negotiations, but it seems that there are other issues that are holding them back from making a deal and getting the games started again.
While the focus has been on the arguments between the players and the owners (millionaires vs billionaires as many like to say,) it’s easy to forget about the hundreds of people who make their living either working for the team or working at games. Office workers, human resource personnel and janitors are all hurting much more than the players or the owners as this lockout drags on.
The team has not said whether it will lay off employees if the season is canceled, but it is definitely a possibility.
The state of Minnesota has college, high school and junior hockey for fans to cheer for while the NHL remains on hold, and I am certain that if and when we get hockey back this year, fans will go right back to supporting the team. But the hundreds of people who are losing a significant part of their wage are nothing but innocent bystanders, and in tough economic times, they are the ones who will be forced to tighten their belts and figure out a way to stretch their pay checks. While the players and the owners squabble over what amounts to just over a million dollars per team per year, it’s the regular Joes and Janes that work for the team who are getting caught in the crossfire.
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