Boston Sports Clubs Laid Off All Its Employees on Monday Night
As the coronavirus crisis worsened, the gym chain closed its doors on Monday night and left hundreds of employees without answers.
Updated on March 19 at 2:55 p.m.: Boston received an email from an anonymous former BSC trainer saying directors are keeping communication open with staff through conference calls. Monthly memberships will be put on hold with no fees until the gym reopens, and any sessions already paid for will be honored when staff is back.
Boston area gyms began closing last week to keep their patrons and the city safe from the coronavirus—leaving personal trainers, among the city’s many other service employees, without work for the time being. Now, it looks like fitness chain Boston Sports Club has officially laid off all their employees. In what appears to be an email to staff, shared via Twitter and with Universal Hub, the company informed its employees that it would be closing due to COVID-19 effective on March 17, and laying off all club level positions. That included every position from General Manager to front line staff.
So @BSC_Gym laid off all of their staff, even though they get a constant revenue stream from monthly memberships. And they’re sitting on the money their trainers made from clients with no communication about paying them out.
— Daniel (@mountainherder) March 17, 2020
Jake Tobin, a former personal trainer at the Prudential Center BSC location, told Boston Tuesday morning that the company’s upper management held a conference call with dozens of clubs during which, Tobin says, BSC relayed that “for the time being everyone would be technically laid off until the gym reopens.” He says he never saw the email referenced in the tweet, and has only received communication from his manager about the layoffs. “I think [the layoffs] might just be a technicality from the gym, but my manager also said it [gives us the opportunity] to file for unemployment during this time,” he says. Tobin was also promised everyone would be rehired when the gym reopened, and said he was told the company would make a decision as to how to move forward on April 7.
The circumstance is not a complete surprise, given that in one day alone the state received almost 20,000 new unemployment claims due to the magnitude of closures around the city, the Boston Globe reports. But the sheer volume of layoffs and the lack of communication about what will happen moving forward makes it especially challenging for the workers.
When Boston reached out to BSC’s parent company Town Sports International—which runs clubs in New York, Washington, and Philly—as well as local BSC front office lines, no one answered the phones or returned our numerous requests for comment.
One trainer, who asked to remain anonymous, reached out to Boston via email early Tuesday morning with the news. The employee said he never saw the message referenced in the tweet, either, and was informed of the layoffs from a manager with no further information. That also means there’s no information about what will happen to the fees that trainers would have earned from already-purchased lessons and training packages, or what will happen to planned future classes.
Mark Cocuzzo, a former BSC personal trainer at the Government Center location, also confirmed the layoffs through Instagram direct message, but wasn’t able to provide any more details. “If they kept the salaried employees,” he wrote, “the company would probably go bankrupt.”
Town Sports International had been facing some financial uncertainty even prior to the coronavirus crisis. The wellness industry publication Club Industry reported in November of 2019 that the company had seen steady declines in its stock prices over the past year.
Boston also reached out to additional trainers, who confirmed the layoffs. We’ll update if we hear back from the company.