Citi Field staffed by rival Phillies vendors amid worker shortage


It’s the City of Brotherly Grub!

The Mets are having such a hard time playing home games with food and drink vendors amid a dry labor market that the responsible service company has to settle in labor from rival Philadelphia Phillies, The Post has learned.

Vendors usually slinging hot dogs and beer at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia have been shut down on a one-hour bus ride to Citi Field to serve Mets diehards unmatched in some recent home games, according to employees and a union leader. Has been given.

Food service firm Aramark, which hires vendors in both ballparks, is so desperate to fill positions amid the coronavirus crisis and its associated economic downturn, it’s sending Philly-based workers to enemy territory, sometimes for three hours. Getting paid to commute, said Ryan Nissim—director of Union 174 in Sabat, Philadelphia.

Fans queue for a concession before a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox at Citizens Bank Park on August 3, 2019.
Vendors are closed from Philadelphia to Queens.
Hunter Martin / Getty Images

“They’re driving them back and forth and paying them for the ride,” Nisim-Sabat said.

“My guess is they are struggling to fill positions because they don’t pay high enough wages,” he said, adding that concession workers make about $15 an hour. “At the end of [the] In a day we are still in a pandemic, and asking workers to stay in front of 10,000 strangers in a stadium is still somewhat risky.

“They should pay more.”

On June 11, as the Mets prepared for a home tussle against the Pittsburgh Pirates, some Citi Field workers saw buses of food vendors from Phillies Stadium approaching Flushing.

“I saw buses full of workers in the parking lot and saw they came from Philly,” said longtime Citi Field food vendor Bobby Lee.

In recent months, the food service industry in New York City has been stricken by labor shortages, some of whom say they are better off returning to work than being paid unemployment checks – fattened by COVID-19 relief bills .

But Lee said the system is running from both sides.

“It’s mutual,” Lee said. “They’re harassing people there [to Philadelphia] Too.”

Aramark is in charge of hiring concession workers at both stadiums.
Aramark is in charge of hiring concession workers at both stadiums.
Matt Rourke/AP

Aramark may only want to fill vacancies with people who already work for the company rather than temporarily, Nissim-Sabat said – arguing that it would be more efficient for the company to do so. Stick to vendor home games.

“They should be hired locally,” he said. “Sending them back and forth is a waste of resources.”

A representative for Aramark said the company has been relocating workers from Philadelphia to Citi Field occasionally for decades — but workers said it’s been happening more frequently in recent weeks.

The representative did not respond to inquiries about whether the company was having trouble hiring locally.

Union 174 director Ryan Nissim-Sabat said workers sometimes made the three-hour commute to work in New York.
Union 174 director Ryan Nissim-Sabat said workers sometimes made the three-hour commute to work in New York.
Corey Perrin/Getty Images

Mets spokesman Harold Kaufman declined to comment.

For their part, Mets fans were divided as to whether they wanted to be served by the road team.

“I would never work at Citizen Banks Park because it’s that grit. I’m a huge Mets fan, so I never want to work for the Phillies organization,” said Jamie Lynch, a lifelong supporter who said he only Would be fine with people if they were fellow Mets boosters – or at least agnostics.

“if [slugging first baseman Pete] Alonso hits a home run…and I’m standing there and holding food and they’re handing it to me and they’re upset, it definitely crushes my vibe at the park,” the 21-year-old Westchester resident explained wearing the jersey Amazon ace Jacob DeGrom. “I want all the pro-mates.”

Aramark said the workers' movement was not a recent change.
Aramark said the workers’ movement was not a recent change.
Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Another sports enthusiast, who declined to be named, said the important thing was the service, not who was providing it.

“If I want to buy a beer at a game, I don’t care if it’s from a Phillies worker,” said the fan. “If I want a beer and can’t get one I’ll go crazy.”

.

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