Miller family to ‘more than match’ Rudy Gobert’s $200K donation to Vivint Arena workers

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gail Miller, pictured at a news conference at the Utah State Capitol on March 2, 2020, and family have pledged to “more than match” Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s $200 thousand donation to cover shortfalls experienced by more than 1,000 part-time Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena employees.

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After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert committed to a $200,000 donation to arena workers, Gail Miller and family are contributing significant financial resources as well.

On Saturday evening, the Salt Lake Tribune confirmed that the Millers have pledged to “more than match” Gobert’s $200K donation to cover shortfalls experienced by more than 1,000 part-time Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena employees, who are expected to receive a boost in their next paychecks. The exact donation amount is unknown at this time.

The total donation, totaling at least $400K, will be distributed equally among those employees — unless they choose to opt out of the funds, pushing more support toward those who need it most.

The 1,000 employees will also be polled this week to see if they want further employment furnished by the Utah Department of Workforce Services. At that point, Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment would seek to provide these employees with jobs that are in higher demand due to COVID-19, such as grocery store restockers or package deliverers. Those companies would pay LHMSE for their employees’ time, while the employees would continue to receive paychecks from LHMSE, streamlining the hiring process. Then, once events at the arena resume, the workers would go back to working with their usual jobs.

The effort comes after an uncertain week for those part-time employees, which includes those working in security, concession, ushers, ticket takers and more. Many thought their shortfalls would be immediately taken care of by Gobert’s donation or by the organization, but a mid-week email sent to those part-time employees from LHMSE specified that their next paychecks would contain dollars only for actual hours worked, without any compensation for the postponed games and events.

Many employees received their paychecks for the March 1-15 period on Friday, with no additional funds. Those employees will receive support on their next paycheck, according to the latest word from LHMSE.

Other LHMSE employees are slated to receive their next paycheck on March 31, for the pay period from March 7-21. The mid-week email originally stated that those paychecks would also include only actual hours worked, but it’s not clear at this time if they’ll receive financial support on that paycheck or on their subsequent one.

So far, four home Jazz games have been postponed as the result of the suspension of the NBA season, along with one concert. There were five more events slated to occur at Vivint Arena through the end of March: three Jazz games and two concerts.

All 30 NBA teams have pledged to support their part-time arena employees during the COVID-19 outbreak, though some teams have been quicker to put their plans in place than others. NBA players such as Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo have also made sizable donations to help those workers.