Sources: Phillies owners commit to pay employees through May


Phillies employees, in a letter from managing partner John Middleton, were informed on Friday that there would be no change to any full-time worker's employment status through the month of May. No layoffs. No pay cuts.

"I am neither an epidemiologist nor a public policy maker, but I do know our industry, and it is my sincere belief that baseball will be played this year," Middleton wrote in the letter, which was obtained by NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I may be proven incorrect, but that is how I am thinking and operating right now. As long as we believe we will play a meaningful number of games in 2020, then I believe we can avoid the most painful forms of budget reduction."

Middleton did go on to caution employees that "with zero revenues for the foreseeable future, there may very well come a time when certain adjustments have to be made," but he said it was premature to speculate on the specifics of those potential adjustments.

Middleton's letter comes one month after all 30 teams informed full-time employees that they would receive full pay and benefits through the month of April, at which time teams would reassess.

Earlier this week, the Atlanta Braves informed employees that they would continue to be paid in full through May. The Phillies are believed to be just the second major league team to assure their workers that they would be paid through May.

"We are all part of the Phillies Family, and together we will get through this," Middleton wrote.

With the entire sports world shut down by the coronavirus health crisis, teams in all professional sports leagues have had to consider pay cuts and layoffs. The Utah Jazz made cuts. The Buffalo Sabres have had significant layoffs. High-ranking executives from the Texas Rangers have taken voluntary pay cuts as have top officials with Major League Baseball. Locally, the 76ers planned to cut employee salaries last month but backed off due to public backlash.

Layoffs and salary cuts were a major issue during baseball's work stoppage in 1994-95. Some teams did cut staff and pay. The Phillies did not.

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