Is College Football Ready for Unions and Sharing the Wealth?
A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern football players could form a union and bargain collectively – they were employees of the University. If this ruling stands, it will revolutionize college athletics.
Employees have to be paid wages, get health insurance, and can make workers compensation claims for on the job injuries. Further, employers must protect employees from unlawful discrimination and harassment, and must accomodate disabled employees to help them perform the essential function of the job. With the big game coming up, will a player be able to take FMLA leave?
Unions collect dues, negotiate working conditions and represent employees in grievances against management. Generally, union employees do not get promoted into management positions, so it will be interesting to see if players can cross the line to become management i.e. coaches.
At bottom, College football makes an enormous amount of money. A unionized workforce certainly will want a piece of the pie much like in the NFL and other professional sports leagues. With all of that money at stake, one thing is certain – this ain’t over yet.
For more info, see this article in the New York Times, College Players Granted Right to Form Union