Will the Orioles take care of concessions workers amid coronavirus? | COMMENTARY

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In this aerial photo, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is closed on what would've been Opening Day, Thursday March 26, 2020, in Baltimore, Md. The Orioles were slated to host the New York Yankees at the park, but the season has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s been a month since the Orioles and 29 other Major League Baseball teams announced they would be giving $1 million to each team’s stadium workers. But the 700 concessions workers who serve Orioles fans at Camden Yards have been left out in the cold.

They haven’t heard anything from the team or the Orioles’ concessions contractor, Delaware North, on whether they will receive support during this unprecedented crisis.


We expect better from the Orioles and the Angelos family.

To be clear, we understand and support the MLB’s decision to postpone the season, although we are heartbroken as longtime fans to see baseball delayed. But as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban put it, how companies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic will “define their brand for decades.”


Other teams across the country are already stepping up to the plate in baseball and other sports. The Barclays Center, United Center, PPG Paints Arena, Pepsi Center and Staples Center committed to pay their concessions workers for the remainder of the NHL and NBA seasons. And in MLB, the Red Sox, Giants, Yankees, Padres, and Marlins have all committed funds to support laid off stadium concessions workers. In fact, the Red Sox increased their total aid from $1 to $1.5 million, expanding it to include Aramark concessions workers. The Giants increased their total aid to stadium workers from $1 to $1.7 million, including all third-party vendors, and said donations are expected to continue to increase.

Where are our O’s?

The hundreds of Baltimore residents who work at Camden Yards are surprised by the lack of response from the Angelos family.

In 2015, when our city was in another moment of crisis, the Orioles did the right thing and paid these workers for games missed as a result of the widespread protests following the funeral for Freddie Gray. Peter Angelos is known for being a longtime supporter of unions – siding with players in the 1994-1995 baseball strike. Indeed, he made his fortune as a lawyer representing injured workers in a large asbestos class action. He once told Los Angeles Times Magazine: “The labor movement is responsible for everything good in America. … You have to support your fellow Americans.”

The concessions workers at Camden Yards are incredibly vulnerable to sudden loss of income. With unemployment rising at a historic rate and rampant delays in unemployment processing, Maryland officials say there is no clear timeline when laid-off workers could receive extra support from the federal stimulus. In normal times, unemployment processing can already take three weeks.

It’s time for the Orioles to stop stalling.

Maryland taxpayers put up over $200 million to build Camden Yards. We did so with the promise that the stadium would create good jobs and economic revitalization for Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods. Now, more than ever, Baltimore needs the Angelos family and the Orioles to live up to that promise.

Roxie Herbekian ( is president of UNITE HERE Local 7, which represents the 700 concessions workers at Camden Yards along with thousands of other hospitality workers in the Baltimore region.