Blank will repay Falcons’ staff for payroll cuts during lockout (UPDATED)

9Roger Goodell and NFL owners who trimmed staff's pay should follow Arthur Blank's lead and repay employees for cuts during the lockout. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roger Goodell and NFL owners who trimmed staff's pay should follow Arthur Blank's lead and repay employees for cuts during the lockout. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

During the NFL’s nonsensical lockout, I didn’t hesitate to bang on the owners for fabricating a dire financial situation and unfairly cutting wages or laying off employees in the front office.

So it’s only fair now to inform you that at least one of those owners is trying to make amends.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who instituted across-the-board payroll cuts to all non-player employees in the team’s office in the form of two-week furloughs, will reimburse wages, the AJC has learned. On the same day as the official end to the lockout, Blank sent an email to staff members that read in part: “Any deductions to your paychecks during the lockout related to unpaid vacation days we instituted will be repaid to you.”

Team president Rich McKay and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are scheduled to meet with employees Tuesday to make the decision official. Employees at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation office also will receive back pay for their previous salary cuts. Blank, who had frozen wages during the lockout, also plans to implement wages, retroactive to March 1.

It’s a classy makeup call by Blank, negating a bad decision that never should have happened. Hopefully, the NFL office and other teams that cut wages will follow Blank’s lead.

UPDATE: Per ProFootballTalk.com, at least three teams — the New York Jets, Miami and Kansas City — have joined the Falcons in giving post-lockout back pay.

I referenced the furloughs last week when NFL owners passed a resolution to approve the CBA. For what it’s worth, I’ve been told by more than a few Falcons employees they were glad the news of the cuts was brought to light. When I asked Blank at the NFL owners meetings if he had plans to pay back employees for lost wages, he said only: “Well, that’s a personal thing for me and our associates.”

At least this story ends on a good note.

By Jeff Schultz

Recent NFL blogs:

Falcons need to attack free agency for defensive help

Falcons Dimitroff can do without NFL’s CBA mess

NFL lockout nears end, but this is no time to celebrate

NFL lockout will end soon because money trumps stupidity

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

82 comments Add your comment

Tron5000

July 25th, 2011
5:51 pm

Good for him. Proud to have an owner like him in Atlanta.

mountain_jim

July 25th, 2011
5:56 pm

Sure beats the Clampetts – I mean Smiths.

chem

July 25th, 2011
6:07 pm

Atlanta needs Arthur Blank

BigDawgExpress

July 25th, 2011
6:12 pm

SOGADOG

July 25th, 2011
6:14 pm

I dont see the point in praising Blank, he should have never cut the non player employee’s wages in the first place. Blank, the coaches, the players and the league make an obscene amount of money yet they cut the blue collar worker’s wages during a strike the blue collar folks had nothing to do with. He is not being gracious or charitable, he is just correcting a correcting a mistake he was wrong to make in the first place.

PTC DAWG

July 25th, 2011
6:19 pm

Blank has class.

Sogadog obviously has never ran a business.

bk

July 25th, 2011
6:21 pm

Jeff,
Are you not watching the police blotter? Why nothing on the Tennessee player arrested? Oh wait – its not a UGA player so we will not print.

slydog

July 25th, 2011
6:22 pm

these are the kinds of acts that put Blank on par with Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones. It’s also the reason why those two dislike him or at least see him as their direct competitor as the league’s most powerful owner.

slydog

July 25th, 2011
6:22 pm

p.s. PLEASE BUY THE HAWKS AND BRAVES!!!!

slydog

July 25th, 2011
6:25 pm

@sogadog, while i do agree with your sentiments, Blank has class for this reason: He did not have to do it at all!!! And watch how many owners will do the same thing. it won’t be that many.

soasoar

July 25th, 2011
6:28 pm

Jeff taking credit because he asked a question. BTW the Jets have already announced the same thing. The real class owners didn’t cut or furlough anyone — and there were several. Slydog how to you get on par with Kraft and Jones – those two are polar opposites as far as class and integrity.

Mike Jay

July 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

That was nice of him but I do wonder if he would have done it had Jeff not called him out about it? I don’t get the point of the paycuts and furloughs anyhow. The Falcons did not lose a single dime from this lockout.

Joey

July 25th, 2011
6:46 pm

Wow!

Rich owner is nice.

Imagine that . . .

Fredi Gonzalez

July 25th, 2011
6:48 pm

I’d like to tip my cap to Mr. Blank. Helluva classy move. I’ll tip Chipper’s cap as well, if Mr. B would offer to buy the Braves.

SeenThisB4

July 25th, 2011
6:57 pm

The Saints didn’t furlough anybody, much less cut their pay during the loclout…..okay, ‘cept for Reggie, but that happens on Thursday, so technically, NO SAINTS employees got “Blank-ed”. LOL!

count_schemula

July 25th, 2011
7:06 pm

Like a boss. Like a boss with class.

ted williams head

July 25th, 2011
7:08 pm

the Giants direct deposit their employee paychecks. when they made the same announcement at the employee meeting buy the time they got back to their desks the money was in their accounts

OldTimer

July 25th, 2011
7:12 pm

Arthur invented Home Depot. What you got?

Paddy

July 25th, 2011
7:16 pm

Mr. Blank is fast becoming like Mr. Turner. A real credit to our sports teams. Nice move Mr. Blank.

TruthSeeker

July 25th, 2011
7:18 pm

Between the Atlanta Spirit Group and Liberty Media, Arthur Blank truly is a breath of fresh air in this city. If he doesn’t bring the Falcons a Super Bowl, it won’t be from a lack of effort. He’s a great owner.

Stinger2

July 25th, 2011
7:18 pm

Sogadog and TIM:Both of you are 100 percent correct. Should have never happened given Blank`s bank account. He is simply correcting a bad mistake.

Tech Fan Since 1950

July 25th, 2011
7:18 pm

It is a classy move by the owner. It is a shame this overall lock-out episode had to happen in the first place. Maybe now Mr. Blank will not bother Atlanta and state taxpayers with a new and much not needed outdoor stadium. Perhaps he can foot the bill for that one himself.

dark void surrounded by a sphincter muscle

July 25th, 2011
7:28 pm

One year New Orleans owner Tom Benson gave all the players and staff a jar of honey from his Texas ranch as a Christmas bonus.

Browncoat

July 25th, 2011
7:30 pm

Meh, I call it a wash. Blank made a jerk move in furloughing employees, and now he is just getting back to even. A real classy move would have been to never furlough the employees in the first place.

Stevie B

July 25th, 2011
7:32 pm

I guess Mr. Blank does not like bad publicity either. I just wonder what the point of the pay cut actually was? How much money was he trying to save? It is upsetting that a man worth over a billion dollars would actually do this. I would venture to say that he earned more in interest in a month than he actually pocketed by the pay cuts. I have always respected the man and think he does some good things. I am glad he made the situation right, but I am still left to wonder why he did it in the first place. I guess he is the only one who knows.

Hatmatbbat1o

July 25th, 2011
7:40 pm

I agree that Blank never should have cut wages in the first place, but I like how he’s making sure to make up for it. It’s not really a classy move, but he deserves a “Good for you”.

dawg4u

July 25th, 2011
7:48 pm

If you cheat someone out of something and then decide against it and to pay them then you are not being classy but merely doing what you should have done in the first place. Nonetheless, I feel that Arthur Blank has shown during his tenure as owner of the Falcons what a class act he is. Thanks for making this team relevant again Mr. Blank!

Peachy

July 25th, 2011
7:49 pm

So Blank made a bad move by cutting his staff’s pay while some other owners didn’t… Now he has taken a step to correct his mistake and you all are saying that’s not classy?? When did it become unclassy to try and make up for a mistake. Get outta here! Like someone said, he didn’t HAVE to do it. He’s the biggest string of hope for Atlanta sports. Give the man a break!

Red&BlackPeachy

July 25th, 2011
7:56 pm

Classy is not cutting the wages at all. Paying the back wages back is a redemptive action. I am glad he is reversing a bad decision.

Buzz ME

July 25th, 2011
7:57 pm

Mr Blank is a first class owner and first class guy. Wish he owned the Braves. If there were more people like him, the world would be a better place.

smyrnabob

July 25th, 2011
7:57 pm

Why not pay them all along? These folks bills kept coming, lockout or not.

Jeff Schultz

July 25th, 2011
7:58 pm

Sogadog — You are correct, that cuts never should’ve happened to begin with. But at least he’s making amends.

Jeff Schultz

July 25th, 2011
8:00 pm

BK — I work for a media outlet that covers Georgia, not Tennessee. It follows that I wouldn’t expect the Knoxville News to report on every transgression in Athens. Does that logic penetrate your skull or do I need to simply things a little more for you?

BadgerFan

July 25th, 2011
8:01 pm

He’s either generous or very shrewd…..or both. Regardless, I give the guy credit.

Jeff Schultz

July 25th, 2011
8:02 pm

Tim — I deleted your comment but it threw out an accusation that there currently is no base for.

Orangello

July 25th, 2011
8:02 pm

Blank has always acted as a class individual.

BirdDawg24

July 25th, 2011
8:10 pm

its not clsssy, its doing the right thing.once again during all of this ,it was all about the money. the all mighty dollar. show me the money. but its all worked out now, all is right with the world. lets just pretend like it never really happened.its all cool now

Paddy

July 25th, 2011
8:10 pm

BK……..maybe we don’t hear about UT is because nobody down here cares about UT. We are Dawgs and we will be given the news either good or bad. No different than any other city in America. UT news does not sell any newspappers in Atl.

The Wad

July 25th, 2011
8:11 pm

Atlanta would be crazy to foot any of the bill for a new stadium, PERIOD! These owners need to press their partners the players into covering the expenses of a business in which they are direct recepients of the profits. The players want all the cake and the icing. It`s time they start paying for the priviledge of the “ownership” stake they say they have in the game. Business includes investment, profit, and loss. The unionized players have only been involved in one aspect of that equation.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 25th, 2011
8:12 pm

Does this happen without your line of questioning?

Probably.

With other teams?

Not so sure.

Good job, Jeff.

Hindu Elvis Pimp

July 25th, 2011
8:20 pm

It’s a classy makeup call by Blank, negating a bad decision that never should have happened. Hopefully, the NFL office and other teams that cut wages will follow Blank’s lead.

How is it classy if it never should of happened to begin with? Classy would have been to keep paying the employees, especially since there is NO revenue during the off season.

Von Trapp

July 25th, 2011
8:23 pm

Now Das class,Misters Blanks……………Das Class

1eyedJack

July 25th, 2011
8:28 pm

Arthur, please buy the Braves. Please..please…please!

About that guy who gave his employees a jar of honey, Arthur could one-up that fellow and give his folks a hammer to boot.

slyyy

July 25th, 2011
8:35 pm

Cmon now. Isn’t it obvious by now that A Blank is all about the publicity. I am sure he had no ontent whatsoever to give back pay to the employees until at least 5 other teams did it. Now the media is treating him like royalty. It’s not difficult to see thzt Mr. Blank is all about Mr. Blank. He wants to be in the public eys and he takes advantage of every chance to do so..

It's not your money

July 25th, 2011
8:39 pm

It’s funny how everyone wants to tell Arthur Blank how to spend his money. Where was everyone when he was building his empire? Where was everyone when he made his bid to become the owner of the Falcons? Whatever he chooses to do with HIS money is HIS business.

I’m happy the Falcon’s employees are receiving their pay retroactively and I am happier to get this season started.

The Spirit of UGA VII

July 25th, 2011
8:43 pm

Well, I hate to see people getting back pay for doing nothing. Maybe Mr. Blank can fine them to get the money back and give them a present for Christmas. I dunno what kind of present—maybe a pair of red panties they can lay on their lap while they’re driving. Hey! It’s better than a jar of honey!

TIM

July 25th, 2011
8:52 pm

Jeff Schultz…in your infinite wisdom……..tell us how the Falcons lost any money during the lockout…..

If fact, didn’t they end up making money during the lockout, and will make even more with the lockout agreement.

Boo to you for giving Blank a pat on the back!

Foxhunter

July 25th, 2011
8:52 pm

Mr Blank, please buy the Braves…

TIM

July 25th, 2011
8:56 pm

Shultz…I didn’t make an accusation…..I asked a question. Get it right!

pmc

July 25th, 2011
8:56 pm

nothing like a little preseason revenue to pick up the old salary.

This is looking like a government shutdown. Was Newt in on this negotiation? Sounds like a contract with America.

Complete with full price, to see preseason nonsense.