The Major League Baseball Players Association announced Friday that it’s launching a $1 million fund to help support workers impacted by the lockout delaying the start of the 2022 season.
In a memo released by the players’ association, officials say the fund will be controlled by the union and the AFL-CIO. The funds will be distributed to stadium workers and other staff members who “face financial hardship through no fault of their own” given the owners’ lockout, according to the memo.
The funds will be distributed to stadium workers and staff, including concession crews, electricians, janitors, ushers, security and transportation staff in addition to its broadcast crews.
“There are a lot of people who make our game great. Many aren’t seen or heard, but they are vital to the entertainment experience of our games,” union executive board members Andrew Miller and Max Scherzer said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, they will also be among those affected by the owner-imposed lockout and the cancellation of games. Through this fund, we want to let them know that they have our support,” Miller and Scherzer added.
The players’ association says it has worked closely with hospitality and stadium workers across the country, as they recognize “the value they provide to the industry’s success,” according to the memo.
On Tuesday, the league announced it was canceling the start of the 2022 regular season, which was slated to begin on March 31st. Tuesday’s announcement follows the breakdown of negotiations between MLB owners and players, who have been locked out since Dec. 2, 2021.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he would be canceling each team’s first two series of the season, totaling 91 games. With this move, players won’t be paid for games they don’t play.
“I’m really disappointed,” Manfred said after the player’s union rejected the owners’ most recent offer Tuesday. “This is a first-time situation. Since we’ve gone to interleague play, we’ve never [canceled] games.”
This is the first time regular-season MLB games have been canceled due to a work stoppage since the player’s strike during the 1994-95 season.
NPR’s Tom Goldman contributed to this report.