Pirates lay off 25 within business operations

As the beginning of the baseball season nears after the COVID-19 shutdown, the Pirates have made layoffs within their business operations.

About 25 people are affected by the news, including some department heads.

The team brought in new leadership last fall, including team president Travis Williams. That leadership was expected to bring some change and restructuring on the business side, and since the team has operated without any income for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it expedited the process of evaluating staffing structure and job functions throughout the organization.  That led to the elimination of some positions and redefining responsibilities to others.

On May 21, the Pirates announced 5-25% pay reductions among their employees and furloughs within business operations, starting June 1. Some of Thursday's layoffs were furloughed at the beginning of the month. There were no furloughs or layoffs in baseball operations. On April 28, the Pirates suspended some 401(k) contributions to their employees, with some executives taking voluntary pay cuts as well.

Those who were let go will receive full health benefits, including the covering of employee contributions, through at least Oct. 31. They all remain eligible for full unemployment benefits as well.

The Pirates are expected not to have fans in the stands this season, and gate receipts account for about 40% of Major League Baseball's revenue. According to Forbes writer Mike Ozanian, between lost fan revenue and the team's stadium debt, the Pirates are expected to miss out on about $87 million because of the COVID-19 pandemic this season.

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