Blog Entry

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:25 am

Posted by Andy Benoit

Another day, another mediated labor negotiating session for the NFL. It’s now Day 5 in these sessions. Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal says he’s told ownership will be represented for the first time in these past five days. Thus far, only the NFLPA and NFL execs have been at the tables.

The ownership side does not mean the owners themselves. Albert Breer of NFL Network pointed out that Redskins front office exec Bruce Allen, for example, was seen walking through the door. Kaplan says no owners will be in the room.

What this all means is difficult to say. Some interpret the ownership side entering the discussion as “progress”. But others could say, Wait, we’re on Day Five and the owners themselves still aren’t in the room!? It’s possible the big issues – such as that $1 billion they’re quibbling over – still haven’t been broached.

Thus far the two sides have been good about keeping their discussions under wraps (though NFLPA PR rep George Atallah did do a live Ustream Q and A yesterday). That makes for better negotiating for the players and owners, but cloudier reporting for the media and fans.

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Category: NFL

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:32 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

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Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2011 3:25 pm

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

PAThfinder, your point about the players forming their own league is pretty astute. Your point that the employees are not the rudder that steers the ship is also very valid. That the employees are to be used for the benefit of the company is without question, but employees are humans and not machines. Even machines break down and need periodic maintenance to prevent breakdowns. The situation with professional sports is that it is so incredibly popular and just ever so lucrative. Where money is involved, the greed factor increases with the dollar value. With athletes you have an automatic ego factor, especially with the star athletes and this ego drives them to be the stars that we want to see in action. The owners are rich and therefore powerful and therefore also egotistical. Now look at how how the owners want more games to be played (more revenue), more protected money for themselves (more revenue), greatly reduced salaries for rookies (more revenue), yet the players receive a greater chance at injury, less revenue per game and are being dictated a smaller pool of revenue to draw their salaries from in the future. This will result in the top players with the huge salaries still being fine in my opinion, but the average rank and file player, which constitutes the bulk of the Players Union membership, will be taking a step backwards. Remember, when ever you hear about agents, they are in reference to the top dollar players and not the rank and file players. If you played a chess game without any pawns or knights, and only started with a king, queen, one castle and one bishop vs a full compliment of pieces, you would porobably lose if the other player knows how to play at all. My point is that you need all of your pieces in order to win, so the lower value pieces can not be ignored or left out.    

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 9:35 pm

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Focke-wulf - I'm retired from the Army now, but I was a pathfinder, that's why I went with it. I captialized the PAT because it was football season when I signed up for this and I'm a Pat's fan. I spent some time at Campbell too, tell your brother be safe.

On to negotiating in bad faith - it seems like neither side is willing to give though. I don't think you can only say the owners are negotiating in bad faith. Just as much as this is about the owners billion dollars, from what I understand, the players are just as adamant about the 18 game schedule. Wouldn't that mean both of them are negotiating in bad faith?

As far as them being partners, I guess they're partners in the sense that any employee is a partner in his or her own company. You're right, employees aren't possessions, but most employees are resources to be used for the benefit of the company, not the rudder that steers the ship. I think that's the biggest problem I have here is that the employees want to run the NFL. If that's the case, they should start their own league. Then they can have whatever length of schedule they want, they can make whatever money they can, they can establish their own retirement fund, etc. As long as the owners own, the players should just play.

Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:02 pm

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

PAThfinder my nephew in the Army is a pathfinder just being deployed to the hot southern zone in Afghanistan with the 101st Air Assault. So, cool handle. That asside. It is failure to negotiate in good faith by definition of the law when there is a recognized collective bargaining unit in place and either side basically has no intention of reaching a mutual agreement, therefore attempting to establish a dictatorship. I do not know exactly how the NFL's labor contract is written and though the players may not be business partners in the sense of ownership, they are partners. Good employees have a vested interest in the continued success of their employer for the purpose of mutual prosperity. An employer requires good employees and relies on them, thus they are assets and therefore valuable. Employees are not commodities, or mere possessions, or pets, or servants.  Where collective bargaining is present the workers do have the right to negotiate their work rules and compensation and conduct a vote on it. This is merely an extension of democracy into the work place giving workers a voice through negotiation and voting as opposed to the dictatorial owner/management concept of total power. We elect officials to represent our interests and negotiate laws and procedures and we elect union representatives to represent our interests and negotiate contracts and members then vote on any contract. Professional sports is different in that individual players also have agents representing them and have individual contracts in force as well as a collective bargaining agreement. That is a very unique arrangement to say the least.     

Since: Jan 30, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 10:55 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

I completely agree with you , the players are EMPLOYEES, not partners.  If I've got myself a little diner, I want good people working there and I would be willing to pay a little more than the average salary to maintain their services.  If I feel that they're putting forth an above average effort, I would compensate them accordingly.  I would not for a minute entertain the idea of giving them a percentage of my profit.

I realize that the NFL is a much larger scale, but the nuts and bolts are still the same.  Unfortunately for the owners, they've put themselves in this situation and if there is significant time lost (missed games) they will undoubtedly look more like the villain.  To the average Joe Blow, especially in these economic times, this all so ridicules!!

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 9:03 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Jack_Sprat - you're right, it's the owners who are asking for two billion off the top, as opposed to the players, before they split the money. My bad.

Still, one place where we disagree, and it's a pretty fundamental disagreement, the players aren't partners, they're employees. The owners don't owe them anything but a paycheck.

I also don't get where you get restraint of trade and bad faith bargaining, there's no collective bargaining agreement, the negotiations start at square 0 right now. I'll be honest, you sound like you know what you're talking about with these two things, if you could shed some light on it, by all means, please do.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:39 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

You've really got to pay better attention. The PLAYERS are NOT asking for another billion dollars; the OWNERS are. (THAT's why the OWNERS are THREATENING to LOCK OUT the players.) What's more, the OWNERS CONSPIRED with their NETWORK PARTNERS to get paid WHILE they are locking them out. In the process DEFRAUDING their other partners, the players, by trading the ADDITIONAL REVENUES that they would've otherwise gotten. Why do this? So that they would have an edge in contract negotiations, courtesy of having shafted the players of their roughly 50% of what was left on the table.
The players should sue the owners and the networks in the event of a lockout, for restraint of trade, bad faith bargaining, and anti-trust violations in doing so. Damages, trebled, could well be enhanced by a filing of criminal RICO charges against the league.

Since: Jan 23, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:27 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Once the owners join the meetings, we will know if progress is being made.

Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 5:05 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Balrog01, cool handle (Lord of the Rings?). Not that I totally agree with you, but intelligent response. The owners will lose an easy cash cow with a major revenue stream with a quick and reliable cash flow. Yes the athletes will lose, but dollar for dollar the owners lose more volumn. Hear and head? I do not require either the NFL or NBA to live my life. I enjoy them greatly, but do not need them. I do not need to spend 1 single dime on their merchandise, for a game ticket ( I could see any Charlotte game ), or watch them on TV. Lock-out and my life goes on and does not miss a beat. Lock out and see how people find other things to do to occupy their time and the danger exists that this disinterest grows to the point that demand for your product is reduced and your potential future revenue is also reduced. Athletes better have actually studied while in college for a worthwhile degree and owners experience a monster financial crash and burn. The owners can not outsource their way out of this. Basically it boils down to the fact that I am more supportive of the troops, the workers and such than I am of the modern day aristocracy. The owners created this monster with runaway salaries and now they are afraid of it and are lashing out. Some of the players are certainly guilty of several sins themselves such as Haynesworth. The owners and the players certainly should be able to find a mutually beneficial course unless they are both just too greedy.    

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:58 am

Labor negotiations see some changes on Day 5

Sonnybono - since we're feeling the need to put our resumes out there for some sort of approval on our posts, I'm not 58, I'm only 40. I was also educated in the public school system, I have one bachelor's degree and one, not two, masters - both of which are in history. My father was also a member of the United Auto Workers Union for the better part of 20 plus years...

Having said that, there is a place for unions, and a place for unions to go away. Nothing in this world is black and white and to assume something so complicated as unions can be is nonsense. The teacher's union who went on strike in Hawaii in 2002 was an absolutely necessary event, they hadn't had a pay raise in almost 10 years and the cost of living was to the extent that a teacher couldn't even rent a one bedroom apartment on their salary without having a second job.

A players union demanding another billion dollars of owners money, after already getting one billion, is not someplace a union needs to be. A union can outlive its usefullness, and this is one instance where that holds true. People can consistently complain about costs of ticket prices, how the true fan is being pushed out of being able to go to the games, and why do you think this is? Perhaps because Tom Brady signs a contract for just under 20 million a year for 5 years and now the Colts promise to pay Manning more?

The ludicrous thing is how fans, myself included, feel that kind of money is warranted. For what? For the ability to play a game. In the same breath we curse the CEOs of multimillion dollar corporations for the bonuses they bring in. We're outraged by the bailouts that come from our taxes, yet we vote to build a local sports team a brand new stadium with that very same pool of money, lest, heaven forbid, they move out of town.

People wonder why prices for super bowl tickets are thousands of dollars, it's because we allow it, the free market bears that sticker price. It's when there is no free market, when the workers are essentially bound to the whims of their employers that there is a need for unions. Teachers don't bring in billions of dollars of revenue, auto workers are usually neither skilled nor educated labor, these are the institutions that require unions. These are the institutions that are not taken care of by the free market.

The NFL is a business that is now to the point that the market won't allow it to go under. Every rabid fan wants their owner to do whatever it takes to win a super bowl, including paying a player a hundred million dollars over five years, Albert Haynesworth... The NFL is to fans what the airlines are to the American government, we'll do and pay whatever it takes to watch it succeed. The free market will continue to pay these players, their demands of the owners for another, yes ANOTHER, billion dollars is ludicrous. That's why, on this issue, I side with the owners. I hope for a lockout.

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