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Madison Square Garden Employees Told They Must Come Back To Work Despite Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

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MADISON SQAURE GARDEN EMPLOYEES
New York Knicks owner James Dolan speaks during a news conference before an NBA basketball game in March. Dolan's Madison Square Garden workers have been told they must return to work, or lose vacation days. | AP

It's going to be a long time before life in New York City gets completely back to normal, but despite the continued blackouts, closed schools and haphazard transit system, employees at Madison Square Garden were informed that if they did not make it into work, they would be forfeiting vacation or personal days.

Gawker has gotten ahold of an email sent out to all employees under the MSG Company umbrella, which includes sports teams such as the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, Fuse TV channel and the MSG Network, as well as venues like the Beacon Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

The email begins by painting a fairly rosy picture about the current state of public transportation in the city:

Today, the MTA announced that several commuter railroad and subway services are beginning to operate, and that the City Transit bus service is now running as close to schedule as possible. In an effort to decrease traffic and speed people’s commute, it was also announced this afternoon that POV (personal vehicle) traffic across all East River bridges will be restricted to high occupancy vehicles from 6 a.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, which means that you must have three or more people in the car.

While service has been restored to parts of the city, only 14 of the 23 subway lines were in partial operation on Thursday, and many stations remained closed with flooded tunnels and power outages. Reporters on the scene at various hubs cited packed buses and extremely long wait times.

The email goes on to say that if employees are unable to make it to work-- say because they've had no power for several days or because their houses have been damaged -- the time off would be coming out of their vacation allotment.

In order to ensure that we continue operating our business and are able to deliver the very best experience for our customers, we are asking employees to come to work. We recognize that many employees are impacted by the transportation issues as well as a lack of power, and that some are even dealing with personal damage and health issues. In the event that you need to make the personal decision that you are unable to come to work, you will need to notify your supervisor and take a personal or vacation day to cover the time off.

As RantSports points out, the letter fails to mention what would happen if employees didn't see the email due to the fact they didn't have power or Internet.

The move, presumably made by executive chairman of Madison Square Garden, Inc. James Dolan, was slammed on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Dolan said he was "disappointed" that 300 of his Cablevision technicians in Brooklyn voted to unionize. Dolan then fired the senior vice president in charge of the Brooklyn unit and the chief administrator and manager of the human resources department there, according to Crain's New York.

Hurricane Sandy claimed the lives of at least 37 people in New York City. At least 14 of those deaths occurred on Staten Island, where many low-lying coastal areas remain inaccessible because of floodwaters.

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