The SF Giants announced on Friday that the organization laid off 10% of its staff. They become another billion-dollar company harming their own employees in lieu of profits.
In a statement released by the SF Giants, the team announced they “are eliminating approximately 10 percent of full-time positions.” The team cited decline in revenues caused by MLB’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, teams played a condensed 60-game regular season (barely more than a third of their usual schedules) without fans in attendance.
According to the statement, the team is providing impacted employees with “severance, healthcare, and outplacement assistance.” Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reported that those laid off have contracts through December 31st and would not lose their jobs until their contracts expired.
Baggarly also reported that “A significant portion of the layoffs are in player development in anticipation of 2021 affiliate reduction. A few retirements that won’t be backfilled as well.”
The move falls in line with the team’s handling of the pandemic throughout the season. While they did not make massive cuts to their minor-league rosters like some teams, they released 20 minor leaguers in June. A move that could justifiably be explained by the incoming contraction of minor-league baseball.
The Giants were one of the few teams that had not let any full-time employees go, though they laid off 1,200 event staff in April. Granted, those around the team noted that laying off event staff allowed them to qualify for government assistance and Baggarly pointed out that the upcoming moves could be considered preparation for a smaller minor-league apparatus going forward.
However, it’s hard for those thoughts not to ring hollow. As Brady Klopfer at McCovey Chronicles explained, “in 2019 Forbes valued the Giants at $3 billion, with an estimated $84 million in operating income. The Giants owner, Charles Johnson, has an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion.” Johnson’s primary wealth also comes via the stock market, which has actually increased in value amidst the pandemic.
Some things don’t need deep analysis. The simplest truth is the most accurate one: during the greatest decline in United States GDP since The Great Depression, a billion-dollar corporation made more people unemployed. It would be wrong to feel good about that.
The SF Giants are not particularly unique. Most pro sports teams (and countless other corporations) have cut employee salaries and laid off much of their staff as well. Still, a team like the Giants, who reportedly was capable of taking on salaries at the MLB trade deadline, easily could have borrowed money if they lacked the cash to make payroll. Instead, they chose to make ownership’s life easier at the expense of their employees.