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Joe Tsai extends pay for hourly workers through May at cost of $6 million

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Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Joe Tsai, who agreed to pay Barclays Center workers the day after the NBA suspended play, will be providing for them through the end of May, union officials tell Brian Lewis. The cost could total $6 million.

Lewis writes...

Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations.

A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.

Tsai moved almost immediately to guarantee the salaries on March 12, two days after the Nets last game and a day after the NBA suspension.

Barclays Center has also donated five tons of food from the arena to City Harvest, the city’s biggest food bank working with the arena’s food and beverage partner Levy Restaurants.

While other teams have made similar moves to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus, not all the NBA owners have followed Tsai’s —and Mavs owner Marc Cuban’s lead. As Lewis notes, Rockets owner Tillman Fertita has been laying off arena workers and the 76ers had to reverse its plan to cut the wages of professional staff.

Tsai’s company Alibaba along with the Asia Society got a shoutout from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at Monday’s press briefing, commended for helping the state procure needed medical equipment from China.

“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba [the president of the Alibaba Group], who is here with us today. I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.

“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”

Tsai is one of the NBA’s wealthiest pro sports team owners with an fortune of more than $11 billion, but other similarly placed owners haven’t gone as far as the Nets.

Just last week, the union praised Tsai and Levy Restaurants, the food service provider that handles Barclays and Nassau Coliseum, for informing their workers and promptly paying them even though, like Aramark’s food workers, they aren’t directly employed by the Nets.