Strike puts hard hit on Orioles office workers

September 02, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

Baseball's 3-week-old work stoppage has claimed some new victims. They work in the Orioles' offices.

This week, the club notified 14 part-time workers, most in the ticket office, they are being laid off. The hours of five other part-timers are being reduced.

Joe Foss, Orioles vice chairman of business, said the moves would save the club $10,000 per week. He added that activity in the departments being trimmed has slowed a lot.

"We have a lot of people here with literally nothing to do," Foss said.

The Orioles join a list of major-league clubs that have pared their office staffs since the baseball season was interrupted by the players strike on Aug. 12. The Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants also have laid off office employees.

The brunt of the Orioles cuts came in the ticket office, where eight part-timers were laid off and three others were cut back from three to one day a week. The three workers whose hours were cut back had been working for the Orioles for many years, some for more than a decade, according to employees not affected by the layoffs.

In addition to the ticket office, the club also cut four part-timers fromits maintenance crews, and one each from public relations and fan information departments.

Foss said there are no plans to dismiss more part-timers or to lay off any of the team's permanent employees. Orioles owner Peter Angelos gave his assurances to the full-time staff before the season came to a halt, saying the club wouldn't let go of any of them because of the work stoppage. The owner repeated that yesterday.

"No full-time people will be laid off, just as I said when the inquiry was made a couple of weeks ago," Angelos said.

Some of the part-timers could get their jobs back when the season gets under way again, later this month, next year or after that. But Foss didn't say whether all or even a majority of those dismissed would be added to the team payroll at that time.

"As the workload changes, we will go back to a program of utilizing part-time help as appropriate," Foss said. "The ticket windows are an obvious example. During peak periods, you are going to need additional people, not unlike a grocery store with checkers or a bank with tellers."

This week's moves are the latest cutbacks in the Orioles front office. Before the strike, club officials were aggressively downsizing the Orioles operation. Since Angelos and his partners took over the team last October, about 35 of the club's 90 full-time employees have been fired or have resigned. Many of the departed workers haven't been replaced.

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