Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Labor Board Rules Northwestern Players Can Unionize - AFL-CIO

Kain Colter, right, a former Northwestern quarterback who testified in February before the National Labor Relations Board, and Ramogi Huma, the president of the College Athletes Players Association. CreditPaul Beaty/Associated Press
The plantation that is major college football is a national disgrace.  As Dr. Andre Perry notes in the Hechinger Report "Black men among the top 25 BCS schools represent 3 percent of their student bodies but 60 percent of the football players. "  They are celebrated for their labor but slighted as students:

  • Across four cohorts, 50.2% of black male student-athletes graduated within six years, compared to 66.9% of student/athletes overall, 72.8% of undergraduate students overall, and 55.5% of black undergraduate men overall.
    96.1% of these NCAA Division I colleges and universities graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.
    97.4% of these institutions graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than undergraduate students overall
Not only do colleges fail to educate those from whom they profit, we know now that college athletes - particularly in football - are at great risk of traumatic brain injury.  This Regional NLRB Director's ruling opens a door to protection of these athletes who serve as an uncompensated farm system for the National Football League.  Among the most important elements of recognizing them as workers is to provide workers compensation insurance and disability benefits.  The issues are discussed here: 

Board Rules Northwestern Players Can Unionize - AFL-CIO:

And reported by Ben Strauss at the Times here

CHICAGO — In a decision that has the potential to fundamentally reshape the N.C.A.A. and college athletics, the National Labor Relations Board regional director Peter Ohr sided with a group of Northwestern football players Wednesday, calling them employees who have the right to collectively bargain.
In a 24-page decision, Ohr wrote that Northwestern is an employer and all of its scholarship football players are eligible to unionize.
In January, Northwestern players filed a petition to the regional office of the N.L.R.B. seeking representation by the newly formed College Athletes Players Association. Last month, lawyers for the labor organization and Northwestern argued the question of whether the players were employee or just students in a hearing that spanned three weeks.
A Northwestern spokesman, Alan K. Cubbage, said in a statement that the university was “disappointed” in the decision and that it would appeal it to the full N.L.R.B. in Washington.

“The players won on every question,” said Tim Waters, the political director for the United Steelworkers, which has worked for more than a decade on rights for college athletes. “It’s a huge victory.”
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