MLB to essential employees, if you get COVID-19 don’t blame us.
Some form of Major League Baseball is back on the field which is a relief to baseball fans and the baseball media and that includes television. Baseball fans can watch games and forget there is a pandemic that is raging across America because it’s good to watch a game. The games are a return to normal life. But most fans don’t know or care about the people who provide the video for their enjoyment. The crew. The camera operators, the people in the truck to make sure the picture goes out correctly. Those people have been out of work since MLB shut down in mid-March although some have been able to work on other sports productions since events have returned over the past month. Members of IATSE or the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have gone back to work churning out a baseball TV show. But MLB, which is returning to the field because there is revenue available from television, is not exactly embracing those workers who are so essential to the revenue flow.
Major League Baseball, which desperately needs the IATSE workers, strong armed those employees by telling them that unless they sign a waiver which would not hold MLB and its teams of any liability as it relates to COVID-19 infection, those essential hired hands who are freelancers will not be allowed to work. MLB figured they had the unemployed workers over a barrel when in truth, those workers had leverage over MLB. If they decided not to work, who would be doing the camera work? But MLB is back and the product is on TV. How long will MLB be able to play games? That is the great unknown. There are problem spots. Canada said no to Blue Jays’ games in Toronto. The American south and California are problem spots. But MLB wants TV money so all is well.