True North reverses direction, vows to pay part-time and casual staff for postponed events
Winnipeg Jets owners initially didn't plan to compensate workers for lost income
The owners of the Winnipeg Jets now plan to pay casual and part-time workers for income lost as a result of the postponement of the remainder of the National Hockey League season.
On Thursday, the NHL postponed play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Winnipeg Jets had four more home games on their schedule.
At the time, True North Sports and Entertainment chair Mark Chipman said the club would not be compensating part-time and casual workers for the lost income.
"Those people are on part-time agreements," Chipman told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
"They work when we work. So, regrettably, to the extent that we're not putting on shows and games, those people obviously would not have a call to work."
The team endured criticism for its decision, both on social media and from sports columnists in traditional media.
On Sunday, Chipman and True North president John Olfert reversed course, pledging to pay casual and part-time employees in full for Jets and Manitoba Moose games slated for Bell MTS Place March as well as events and programs slated for the arena, the Burton Cummings Theatre, Bell MTS Iceplex, the Jets' retail store and the True North Youth Foundation.
"This is payment for games and venue programming in March as if they had taken place," Chipman and Olfert stated.
"Additionally, in the event we do play those games or resume programming, you will be compensated for that work at that time."
The two team executives also issued an apology.