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Latest News - September 2011

September 2, 2011
Angel Stadium unions take fight to fans
Source: The Orange County Register
By: Eric Carpenter

ANAHEIM – Angel Stadium workers in two separate unions, both frustrated by slow contract negotiations and threatening to walk off the job, took their fight directly to Angels fans on Friday night before the game.

Members and supporters of the two unions – SEIU, which represents ticket takers, ticket sellers, ushers and janitors, and Unite Here Local 11, which represents food vendors – carried protest signs and distributed fliers to fans as they arrived at the stadium.

Both unions have been negotiating separately for months and say they are discouraged by a lack of progress. The sticking points, they say, are a suggested wage freeze and a failure to rely on seniority to determine staffing.

As a comparison, janitors at Angel Stadium make a standard rate of $11.72 per hour; in San Francisco: $15.15, and in Oakland: $17.50, according to SEIU officials.

“I love the Angels, I love working here,” said Mary Kent, 58, of Brea, who sells tickets in the box office and has worked for the Angels for 29 years. “We just want the Angels to honor our hard work and dedication – the same traits that make the Angels a contender every year.”

SEIU is negotiating with the Angels, while Unite Here is negotiating with Aramark, the company that handles food and beverage service for the stadium.

The membership of both unions has authorized a strike but neither union has called for one yet. Union leaders tried to make it clear that they were not technically “picketing” on Friday, since employees still planned to report for work and they weren’t calling for fans to stay away.

“We have not called for a boycott yet,” said Leigh Shelton, a union leader of Unite Here. “But we are working together for the same goal and we are stronger when we work together since our objectives are similar.

“We just want fans to know what the workers are facing and, hopefully, win their support if a strike is called.”

Reaction from fans was mixed.

“I know that they have been voted No. 1 in customer service and I think that should be rewarded,” said Angels fan Blake Johnson, 34. “It seems like the team is doing well and drawing a lot of fans. They should be rewarded with at least a little more pay.”

Another fan, Sheldon LeMoore, 43, said he thinks it’s a bad time to be looking to strike.

“With the economy the way it is, I don’t think they’re going to get a lot of sympathy if they walk away from a job,” he said.

Representatives for the Angels and Aramark weren’t available for comment. Both management and union representatives have expressed hope that an agreement can be reached and that a strike can be averted.

Reunion reps said they will be back at the stadium on Monday for a tailgating party in the parking lot near the home plate gate.

Contract negotiations are set to resume on Tuesday.

The Angels returned home Friday for a nine-game homestand that runs through Sept. 11. The regular season ends at the stadium on Sept. 28.



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