Baseball-Dodger Stadium workers vote to authorize strike ahead of All-Star game

By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Concession workers at Dodger Stadium have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike just over a week before the venue is set to host Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

More than 1,500 workers for concessions giant Compass Group and Levy Restaurants voted 99% in support of the authorization and union leaders said a strike could be called at any moment.

The workers are currently trying to negotiate a new contract.

“I voted yes to strike because I often have to pick up shifts at the Rose Bowl just to try to make ends meet,” Dodger Stadium bartender Laura Ortiz said in a press releases put out by Unite Here Local 11.

“I love working at Dodger Stadium and know that our company can do better.”

The union said it represents food servers, bartenders, suite attendants, cooks and dishwashers at the iconic Southern California stadium.

The All-Star Game, which includes nearly a week of events in the lead-up to the July 19 contest, is returning to Los Angeles for the first time since 1980 and is expected to draw thousands of hungry and thirsty fans from around the country and beyond.

The Dodgers did not respond to a request for comment but the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) voiced their support for the workers.

“Like thousands of ballpark workers across the country, Local 11’s members are a vital yet under-appreciated part of what makes our game great,” the players said in a statement.

“They deserve to be treated fairly and will continue to have 1,200 members of the MLBPA behind them.”

The players themselves were locked out by the league’s owners earlier this year amid a contract dispute that threatened to cancel the start of the season before an agreement was reached in March.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)