SBD/August 22, 2014/Franchises

Sources: Cubs Limiting Hours Of Gameday Staff To Avoid Paying For Healthcare

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Ground crew experts say the Cubs had an undermanned crew on Tuesday
The "big-business Cubs' response" to the Affordable Care Act is among the "causes behind Tuesday night's tarp fiasco" by the Wrigley Field grounds crew, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Tuesday's Giants-Cubs game was suspended due to field conditions after the grounds crew was unable to properly cover Wrigley's infield with their tarp, and ground crew experts said that the incident "showed an apparently 'undermanned' crew." The sources said that 10 grounds crew members "were sent home early by the bosses Tuesday night." Sources added that the "staffing issues that hamstrung" the grounds crew "were created in part by a wide-ranging reorganization last winter of game-day personnel, job descriptions and work limits designed to keep the seasonal workers -- including much of the grounds crew -- under 130 hours per month." The monthly limit is the "full-time worker definition under 'Obamacare,' which requires employer-provided healthcare benefits." The Cubs "played damage control on the issue much of Thursday, insisting staffing played no role in the problem." Cubs VP/Communications & Community Affairs Julian Green said, "Our efforts to manage costs had nothing to do with the episode on Tuesday night" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/22). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reports some members of the Wrigley security staff were "pulled off their jobs Tuesday night to assist the grounds crew after the Cubs had sent employees from the morning crew home, believing it would not rain." Green: "Staffing, hours and scheduling had absolutely nothing to do with Tuesday's freak occurrence" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/22).

MY NAME IS MUD: In Chicago, Rick Telander writes under the header, "The Cubs: A Franchise Stuck In The Mud." Telander: "Want a rundown stadium? Yep. Wrigley Field is an oxymoron: a lovely, crumbling, historic, intimate dump. How about some front-office fun? Got that, too." The Ricketts family "either does or doesn’t have enough money to run the franchise properly" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/22).
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