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Mets 'expected' to pay full-time employees until at least May 31

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and co-owner Fred Wilpon

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and co-owner Fred Wilpon listen to Carlos Beltran speak on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at Citi Field in Flushing. Credit: Corey Sipkin

The Mets are “expected” to pay their full-time baseball and business operations employees their full salaries through at least May 31, a team source said Tuesday.

Employees had not been informed of that decision as of Tuesday evening. But when it becomes official, the Mets will join nearly every other major-league team in doing so, as clubs have moved in recent days to promise salaries through the approximate one-third mark of the would-be season.

Paychecks came into question because MLB, like every other sport, shut down last month due to the coronavirus pandemic and teams are facing massive revenue issues. With no games being played, no money is being made.

Starting the season wouldn’t necessarily solve those money issues, either. MLB is considering various contingencies to salvage as many games as possible, but virtually all of the plans include games with few or no fans in attendance. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said in recent interviews that tickets and other gate-related sales (concessions, parking, etc.) account for 40% of teams’ local revenue.

The salary promises do not include the largest expense of any team, including the Mets: major-league payroll. Nor does it cover minor-leaguers nor part-time/seasonal stadium workers.

Major-leaguers are represented by the MLB Players Association, which last month negotiated a deal with MLB that included a $170 million advance of players’ salaries. If there is no season, players will not receive additional money. If there is a partial season, salaries will be subject to further agreement between MLB and the union.

Minor-league players don’t have a union. Teams agreed to pay minor-leaguers $400 per week through May, which in some cases is a raise from what they would be earning in a normal season.

For game-day employees, the Mets set up a $1.2 million fund early this month. Grants are being awarded to those who demonstrate financial need in the wake of the pandemic, with money left over to be distributed to employees of ballpark partners such as Aramark, which is contracted to run the concessions.

The spread of COVID-19 has wrought havoc on businesses across the country, with 22 million people filing for unemployment in a four-week span, according to the latest figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor last week.

That includes about 1.2 million New Yorkers. But for now, at least, that won’t include any full-time Mets employees.

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