TD Garden workers already left in the financial lurch for missed Bruins and Celtics games received more bad news on Tuesday.
They were officially laid off.
The Garden and the Bruins delivered the news to hundreds of part-time ushers, a move made in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has shut down the NHL and NBA, as well as nearly all professional sports leagues.
In a letter regarding the “Operational Impact of Coronavirus,” the part-time workforce was told it “will not be scheduled until the conditions at our unit allows us to resume normal operations. As this situation is rapidly evolving, we will continue to update you with the anticipated date that we will resume business.”
For one part-time usher, the letter was the first written communication from Delaware North, owner of TD Garden, since the sports world began to shut down on March 11.
The letter stated that the workers “may be eligible” for unemployment compensation benefits.
“It leaves me nowhere — I can’t go to the unemployment office, I have a pension, I have other income, but there are other people that this is what they do — they work every Bruins game, every Celtics game, every concert, every everything that shows up,” said the part-time usher, who requested anonymity out of concern for their job security. “Most of the guys I work with all have a day job — I work with people from the post office, I work with firemen, and most have day jobs, and this is a part-time job, supplementary income, I don’t see what we’re going to get for unemployment. It’s kind of an empty letter.”
In a statement to the Globe, a spokesperson from TD Garden and the Bruins said, “The unprecedented reality of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact to our business unfortunately resulted in us placing some of our Bruins and TD Garden full-time hourly associates on temporary leave today. This decision was difficult, and we hope this situation is temporary.”
‘It leaves me nowhere — I can’t go to the unemployment office, I have a pension, I have other income, but there are other people that this is what they do — they work every Bruins game, every Celtics game, every concert, every everything that shows up.’
A TD Garden usher
The layoff letter came just three days after Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, whose family business is Delaware North, said it would set aside $1.5 million to pay Bruins and Garden employees for missed home games, but not until and unless the games were officially canceled, which could be weeks or months from now.
The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to address its workers’ concerns.
“It’s terrible — we found that out through the newspaper, not through an official thing from our boss, which is pretty sad,” said the usher. “That’s the first official document I’ve received from the Bruins regarding this situation.”
The reason for the layoffs, the letter to employees stated, was that “the coronavirus has had significant implications across all of Delaware North’s lines of business, including at your unit. All the major sports leagues suspended their seasons, governments are requiring closures and reduction of capacity at certain venues, tourism has declined, events have been canceled, and more people are simply staying home. Due to this, the Company has no choice but to ensure that we are appropriately staffed.”
Tuesday’s letter expressed the hope that “these changes are short-lived. We are committed to returning all our associates to active duty as soon as possible. Please understand that this is a constantly evolving situation and subject to change.”
Michael Silverman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.