Gabriel Thompson was paid $12.25 an hour as a concession worker at Levi's Stadium during Super Bowl 50. Not bad, right? Well, he writes at Slate, it's a little more nuanced than that: Thompson clocked in at 8:36am, more than 90 minutes after he arrived at the spot where a shuttle would take him to the stadium. "This is how they treat the 99% who gonna serve the 1%!" a woman complained as they waited. Once at the stadium's Chrome Grill, Thompson was too busy serving fans who paid up to $10,000 a ticket that he couldn't take the 10-minute break per four hours of work required by California law. He clocked out at 8:39pm but was still waiting for a shuttle out more than two hours later. "We want to go home! We want to go home!" workers chanted around him.
Thompson says the unpaid time was "likely illegal." After doing the math, he believes he's owed about $110 in extra pay for four games he worked. But by the end of the day, "my frustration is muted by my deep fatigue. After being on my feet for 16 hours, all I want to do is get home and sleep." He considers himself lucky that he has a home at all. Some stadium workers make less than he does, and work is thin. Levi's Stadium held just 25 major events in 2015, with workers getting a maximum of 240 hours. "That's roughly $2,900 for the entire year," says Thompson, adding the median monthly rent in San Jose is $2,210. One worker told Thompson she was struggling to make ends meet and was living in a trailer park storage unit. She made $11 an hour working at a beer stand. At the Super Bowl, a Bud Light sold for $13. Click for Thompson's full column. (Read more Super Bowl stories.)