Concession Workers at Giants' Oracle Park Vote to Strike over COVID-19 Safety

Blake SchusterContributor ISeptember 5, 2021

Facade of Oracle Park, a baseball park in San Francisco, California, November 19, 2020. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

As the Major League Baseball season reaches the home stretch, concession staffers at the San Francisco Giants' Oracle Park could strike as a result of poor working conditions.

Citing the hazards that come with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, 96.7 percent of the roughly 930 concession workers voted to authorize a strike Saturday. The Unite Here Local 2 union said at least 20 staffers have contracted COVID-19 since the stadium welcomed back fans this season.

UNITE HERE Local 2 @UniteHereLocal2

“Last night I must’ve told 200 people to put a mask on, and it’s stressful because a lot of them just make fun of you and give you attitude. I’ve worked at Oracle Park for 22 years and at Candlestick for 10 before that. We deserve better.” <br><br>- Deborah Torrano, suite attendant <a href="https://t.co/nie2FTEHfR">pic.twitter.com/nie2FTEHfR</a>

The strike comes as the Giants are preparing for another deep postseason run, though technically the workers wouldn't be striking against the ballclub. Workers are contracted through Bon Appétit Management Company.

"Bon Appétit Management Company and Local 2 are currently engaged in collective bargaining negotiations," the Giants said in a statement to ABC7 News (h/t ESPN). "We encourage both sides to work productively to reach an agreement as soon as possible. The Giants make the health and safety of everyone working and visiting Oracle Park a top priority. We operate our venue in compliance with local and state health requirements."

Local 2 President Anand Singh noted to SFGate's Alex Shultz that though the negotiations are between Local 2 and Bon Appétit, "the Giants hold the cards here" and could direct Bon Appétit to, for example, raise wages.

Concession workers say the Giants have failed to create a safe environment and have cited waning vigilance in checking fans' proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Workers were on the job Saturday night when the Giants hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers. The vote allows the employees to begin their strike at their discretion; however, it's unclear when staffers will begin in earnest.