SBD/November 28, 2012/Franchises

NHL Lockout, Day 74: Wild Cut Employees' Hours, Salaries While Avoiding Layoffs

With “no end in sight" to the NHL lockout, the Wild "announced cost-cutting measures during a staff meeting Tuesday,” according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The “vast majority of the 200-person staff was informed that it will begin four-day, 32-hour work weeks that will reduce salaries by 20 percent.” In order to “alleviate the stress heading into the holiday shopping season, employees won't feel losses for the first time until after Christmas.” Wild COO Matt Majka “wouldn't speculate whether layoffs would be on the horizon” if the lockout results in the cancellation of the '12-13 season. Majka said that the team's objective is to “avoid layoffs," and that the Wild "decided the fairest thing to do was ‘difficult’ across-the-board pay cuts.” He said that there has been “an uptick lately in Wild season-ticket holders requesting refund options,” but that sponsorships have been “largely unaffected.” Previously, the only Wild employees to receive cuts in base pay “were those making more than $70,000 a year, and that was a 30 or 35 percent reduction to the compensation over that $70,000 threshold.” Canucks, Canadiens, Senators, Blue Jackets and Blues employees “have been working four-day weeks for some time, as well as full-time employees at NHL headquarters" in N.Y. and Toronto. The Senators, Panthers, Oilers, Coyotes and Blues have “laid off employees” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/28). In L.A., Helene Elliott notes the Wild “spent $196 million over the summer to sign free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to identical 13-year, $98-million contracts that included a $10-million signing bonus to each player.” Though Suter and Parise "are not getting paid, both players got their bonus checks.” So the Wild “paid $20 million to two players who aren't playing and now feels compelled to economize on staff salaries” (L.A. TIMES, 11/28). 

YOU'VE GOT MAIL: In San Jose, David Pollak notes the Sharks sent a refund to ticket holders and the first check “comes to 1.8 percent of the 70 percent of the season most season-ticket holders have paid for to this point.” The team yesterday in an e-mail to season-ticket holders said that it would “take two weeks to process and mail out November refunds to those who paid by check, pushing their actual arrival inside the mailbox to mid-December.” Though four more games “already have been canceled for next month, the team only is giving refunds on a month-by-month basis in case a labor agreement is reached and more games are added to the December schedule” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/28).
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