Major League Baseball has imposed a Covid-shortened 60 -game season on the ballplayers after months of haggling over salaries and health provisions. Meanwhile, Jackie Walker worries about her future.
“I’m appalled about how the Nationals have treated us,” Walker said, referring to Washington, D.C.’s World Series–winning team that she has worked for since 2011. Walker, a catering cook at Nationals Park, who is a diabetic and has heart problems, lost her health insurance in mid-March after Major League Baseball (MLB) delayed the start of the regular season as a result of the health pandemic.
She is one of the roughly 24,000 food service workers who sell beer, peanuts, and hot dogs and staff the luxury suites at the 30 MLB stadiums throughout the country.
When baseball shut down in March, these workers—along with another approximately 15,000 workers who help park cars, clean the stadiums, sell caps and T-shirts, show fans to their seats, and provide security—lost their jobs. Many of those who were lucky enough to have health insurance—and many did not—lost that as well.
Major league players are playing again and being paid a pro-rated salary, but the stadium workers have been left in the lurch. Fans have been banned from stadiums, so there will be no need for most of the workers who normally staff the games.
“I’m in serious debt,” Walker explained. “My bills are piling up. I ran out of my medicine for diabetes and a heart problem.”