With Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game set to take place on July 19 and many festivities occurring throughout the week, Dodger Stadium concession workers—employed by Levy Restaurants—are set to strike if the stadium workers cannot reach a deal on a new contract. Representing union UNITE HERE Local 11 announced on Monday, July 11, that workers voted 99% to strike at any moment before the All-Star Game.
The nearly 1,500 stadium workers employed by Chicago-based Levy Restaurants at Dodger Stadium include bartenders, cooks, servers, dishwashers, and suite attendants. The union’s last contract expired in 2019. Since then, disparities in housing and healthcare for concessions workers have continued to grow. Thus, beyond wages, the focus on the negotiations between the union and Compass Group, owner of Levy Restaurants, will be housing and healthcare.
Stadium workers are becoming an afterthought despite heavily contributing to the game-day experience and Major League Baseball team values averaging $2.07 billion. In 2020, the average Dodger Stadium concession worker earned nearly $17.39 per hour, for a total of around $11,268.72 for an 81-game season. Considering average rental prices for one-bedroom apartments in Los Angeles are over $2,000 per month, it is clear why stadium workers are focused on housing.
It is not the first time UNITE HERE has aided stadium workers in pursuing better wages, benefits, and working conditions. In 2021, UNITE HERE Local 2 represented concessions workers at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, in their negotiations with Bon Appétit, the Giants’ food service contractor, over COVID safety, health care, and hazard pay. Concessions workers voted 96.7% to strike, but ultimately the parties reached an agreement before the union called a strike.
In 2022, prior to the Super Bowl, UNITE HERE Local 11 represented concessions workers at SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, securing a union contract that boosted wages, benefits, and other protections. As a part of its Dodger Stadium announcement, UNITE HERE Local 11 noted the SoFi contract and stated, “Levy workers at Dodger Stadium are seeking to win the same rights.”
On the same day of UNITE HERE Local 11’s announcement, July 11, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) released a statement announcing its support for Dodger Stadium workers. In March, recognizing the impact of the Major League Baseball lockout on stadium workers and the vital role stadium workers play during the season, the MLBPA launched a $1 million fund to help stadium workers affected by the lockout.
With the All-Star Game on deck, UNITE HERE Local 11 is capitalizing on the increased attention on Dodger Stadium. Today, July 13, the union and Compass Group have resumed discussions. Hopefully, the union can reach a new deal that is a victory for stadium workers.