Both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings this week are hosting job fairs, but some ask how many temporary part-time game-day positions will be for local Blacks, low-income and other people of color.
“Folks want jobs at those stadiums,” stated Rod Adams, a worker rights organizer for Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC).
Delaware North Corporation (DNC) General Manager Peter Spike said in a MSR phone interview that through the two Twins ballpark job fairs, one last week and the other on April 28, they hope to hire enough local workers to staff baseball games for the remainder of the season.
NOC and others, however, aren’t so sure, especially since it was learned last week that DNC brought in at least 150 workers from Milwaukee and Chicago to work baseball games two weekends ago; these workers were DNC employees. A local television station reported that the jobs were all union positions that paid $11-$14 an hour.
Devon Jenkins and sisters Rosheeda Credit and Devona Credit told the MSR last week that they’d like to apply for stadium jobs. All three worked as $9-an-hour Twins ballpark temporary workers last year.
Rosheeda Credit recalled her time sheets with her actual hours worked, and the actual hours she was paid didn’t match. “We were working hours and not getting paid for [them],” she pointed out. “We’re here three or four hours before the game, and at least two hours after the game, cleaning up. And we’re only getting paid for the actual [time] length of the game. The time we were serving people, we got paid for. We did not get paid for the prep time before the game, or the standing in line before the game or the cleaning after the game.”
Devona Credit added, “We had to set up while the DNC workers just walked around, talking and having fun, and having a great time, while they got the temp service [workers] actually doing everything.”
Spike explained that using temp agencies at Twins games last season proved problematic: “We did have issues with agencies last year,” he continued. “Most of the issues were around pay, report times, method of payment and so forth — things I couldn’t control because they worked for the [temp] agencies and not for Delaware North.”
Nonetheless, Adams complained that if DNC can bus in out-of-town workers two weeks ago, what can stop them from doing it again. “It is our taxes that built that stadium,” he pointed out. “This is something not just Black people should get mad about. I’m thinking every Minnesotan — White, Black, Latino and Asian — should be pissed off about this.”
“I felt cheated,” said Jenkins. “Bus people from out of state to take the jobs we need to survive?”
When asked was not hiring local workers intentionally planned, “No, it certainly wasn’t,” responded Spike. “The expense of bringing in trained workers [from out of town] was much higher and it is an expense we don’t budget for.”
Adams said on the new Vikings stadium expected to open this summer, “Will that be 2,500 Chicagoans, or will it be people from Minneapolis? I think people should be worried about that. It bothers me and it should bother everybody.”
“It seems that we are at a fork in the road with our relationships with stadiums in this city and in this state,” said NOC Executive Director Anthony Newby, who added that his organization wants to work with the Twins, DNC and the Vikings. “The willingness to engage community folk on how to fill the positions that they have feel like a new priority for the Twins, and we hope it sets a precedent for other stadiums to do real community engagement to make sure those jobs go to people who really want them,” he said. “The consequence if they don’t do that is a tarnished relationship between these stadiums and the local communities because of the way that they treated low-wage workers and workers of color in the past, that word has spread throughout the community.”
Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen in an email statement to the MSR said of the Vikings new stadium, “We have many positions that are available in the areas of security, housekeeping, retail, catering, food service, and guest experience, which includes ushers, guest services and even tour guides.”
The Vikings job fair is at the Minneapolis Convention Center April 28, 9 am — 8 pm. “We are currently working with over 25 different community organizations and partners to get the word out about the job fair, and the 2,500 opportunities for employment. We encourage everyone …to come to the job fair,” stressed Kelm-Helgen.
“Our first priority is to put Minnesotans to work in competitive union positions, competitive wage positions,” stated Spike of the April 28 Twins job fair, 2-7 pm at the ballpark.
Adams said NOC is holding a “semi-job fair” at its West Broadway headquarters Thursday at noon, “Then [we will] take them down to Target Field for the opportunity to apply [at] the [Twins] job fair.”
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.