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Volume 26 No. 181
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Ballmer Donates $25M To Relief Efforts; Others Chip In

Ballmer's latest donation will be used to accelerate testing for the coronavirus
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Ballmer's latest donation will be used to accelerate testing for the coronavirus
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Ballmer's latest donation will be used to accelerate testing for the coronavirus
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

A philanthropic group founded by Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, said that it has pledged more than $25M "toward organizations working to blunt the novel coronavirus outbreak." The Ballmer Group said that its latest donation toward the healthcare system in Seattle, where the Ballmers live, will be "used to accelerate testing for a virus vaccine" (L.A. TIMES, 3/28). 

TAKING CARE OF THEIR OWNMSG has "established a relief fund to provide financial assistance to employees while also committing to paying qualified venue employees through at least May 3." The MSG Relief Fund was established with a $1M donation from MSG Co. that was "matched by a similar contribution from the Dolan Family Foundation." Another $300,000 has been "contributed by the MSG management team with the expectation that the fund will grow with contributions from the Rangers and Knicks." The fund has been "set up to provide direct assistance to employees for a variety of expenses, including health care, rent/mortgage, food and other necessities, while the arena is shuttered" (N.Y. POST, 3/29). MSG previously had "only guaranteed pay for its event staff until April 5" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/29)....NHL Panthers Owner Vincent Viola is "committed to continue paying Panthers full-time employees throughout the shutdown." Viola on Friday told the staff of about 230 people "about his plan" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/28).

RIGHT DIRECTIONAramark's 1,000-plus Red Sox game-day employees will "now be able to partake in an expanded pool of relief aid for game-day workers affected by the shuttering" of the MLB season. The pot of relief money "will grow" by 50%, from $1M to $1.5M, with the Aramark concessionaires "joining Red Sox game-day staff such as ticket-takers, ushers, and grounds crew as recipients of the aid." Details on "how much money will go to each employee and when have yet to be hammered out" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/28). The Local 26 union, which covers the Aramark Red Sox employees, last Thursday "began a petition asking the Red Sox to offer their support to third-party employees as well." The petition had "over 2,000 signatures" by the following day, and that afternoon, the Red Sox "announced the change to their funding" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/28)....Hundreds of contracted food service workers at Citi Field "haven't received a single paycheck" since MLB suspended its season. One worker said the "non-response" from Aramark is "especially hurtful because they're regularly referred to as 'a family'" by the company. Aramark is responsible for their workers' paychecks and the Mets are responsible for Aramark's, so it is unclear "who feels who should pay workers during the shutdown," as both entities are "yet to provide comment clarifying if or when workers ... would receive pay" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/28).

COMING TOGETHER: The Union have "set up an employee assistance fund to pay part-time game day staff who've lost money" due to the MLS season being suspended. The fund also "applies for games of the club's reserve squad" in the USL. Union Chief Business Officer Tim McDermott said, "We're just trying to do the right thing." McDermott said that "'it ends up being about 225 or so people' who would have access to the fund, from ushers to ticket-takers to security to parking attendants and concession stand workers" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/28). In N.Y., Rory Smith wrote soccer -- "perhaps more than any other sport -- sells itself, in part, on the basis of its connection to its community." These are the times when fans "expect clubs not to act like businesses, when we expect them to do more, to go further, to live up to their own billing as social institutions, as part of the fabric of a community." These are the times when soccer "gets a chance to prove it is not all just spin" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/28).