Incompetent scabs hand victory to locked out referees

Incompetent scabs hand victory to locked out referees

For the first seven weeks of the National Football League (NFL) season, bosses have locked out all 212 unionised referees.

The issues that have led to the dispute are the same as those that started the recent National Hockey League (NHL) players lock-out, namely, pay, and pensions.

As in most American sports, the contracts for all staff in the NFL are negotiated centrally every few years, and salaries are usually calculated based on a percentage of the overall income of the league.

The (NFL) is the most profitable sports league on earth. Last year it had a turnover of over $9 billion, and is expected to rise to $14 billion within the next three years. As you would expect, the bulk of the wage bill is spent on the players, with the average salary being around $1.9 million.

NFL referees earn a good wage, despite in theory only working on match days. The referees claim that in actual fact they work virtually full time and put lots of extra preparation prior to games.

They are demanding a similar percentage raise that they negotiated in 2006, but the bosses refused. This is despite record profits and the salaries of referees only accounting for 1% of the entire NFL wage budget. To rub salt into the wounds, the bosses planned to substantially slash the referee’s pension scheme. Alterations to the scheme will save the NFL around $16 million in total over the next 8 years, yet in the same eight years, the NFL will bring in monies over $130 billion.

Whilst many have little or no sympathy for the referee’s, who can earn around $100,000 a year, it is the thin end of the wedge, as the next people in line will be the grounds keepers, the arena staff, and countless other workers who are directly employed by the NFL.

Unfortunately for the NFL they did not expect that amateur, mid-level referees would act in solidarity with their NFL colleagues, and refuse the NFL’s tempting opportunity to officiate in games at the highest level. Instead, the NFL has had to draft in referees from local leagues, school teams, and children’s teams.
The performance of the ‘scabs’ has been so monumentally bad that NFL bosses have caved in and given the referees exactly what they wanted, rather than face the growing backlash from fans.

This article was first published in Freedom newspaper.

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working class s...
Nov 3 2012 00:43

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  • Whilst many have little or no sympathy for the referee’s, who can earn around $100,000 a year, it is the thin end of the wedge, as the next people in line will be the grounds keepers, the arena staff, and countless other workers who are directly employed by the NFL.

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Comments

flaneur
Nov 3 2012 01:48

I'm not sure this is much of a victory at all. The deal will last for 8 years so they'll be locked in to the new contract for all that time. Their current benefit deal will run out 2 years before that with everyone switching to the new plan. Cutting their hours and making full time positions are still possible. And whilst their yearly increase is meant to be 5-11%, the union has said it's more likely to be under 3%. The bit about the replacements is wrong, refs were brought in from high school, college and professional league levels and obviously none of them were shy about scabbing.