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UAW Teams Up With NFL Players

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On: Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 3:14PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


UAW Teams Up With NFL Players

The United Auto Workers union is teaming up with the National Football League Players for a potential “brothers-in-arms” type of co-mingling as the NFL players square off against the owners and face a potential lockout. The first step of this new union merger is for all UAW members to sign an online petition of support for the football players. Beyond that, it could mean auto workers standing shoulder to shoulder with players on a picket line.

“It doesn't matter if you work on the assembly line or on the line of scrimmage, You still have a boss, and the boss is still out to take what he can from you.” Gary Casteel, a regional director of the UAW, said in a speech this week to a UAW conference in Washington.

The average NFL player banks around $2 million per year while the typical new UAW hire is looking at an annual pay of $30,000. Putting aside that paycheck difference, there are many reasons for the UAW to support the players. "This is also about the restaurant workers, the grounds team, the first responders, and the thousands of others who work around the stadiums,” said Casteel.

Former NFL standouts Jason Belser and Don Davis made their case to the more than 1,000 delegates at the 2011 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference.

“I know you may be thinking: These spoiled brats; just get over it. You make more money in one day than we make in years,” Davis said. “But not everybody does. This fight is about labor and management. It always has been and it always will be.”

“Our fight in this lockout is not about the 1,800 players. It’s about how does this affect the 152,000 workers in 32 stadiums around the country. They should not be affected by owner greed,” Belser said.

The current labor agreement between the NFL owners and the players will expire on March 4. Yes, it is considered a labor agreement just like the agreement between the UAW and the automakers. In this case, the players are bracing for a lockout by the owners. If that happens there will be no training and no games.

NFL Executive VP Jeff Pash weighed in on the discussion earlier this week. “The owners have the bit in their teeth,” said Pash. “They want an agreement. The notion that NFL owners are looking to shut down the NFL is nonsensical.”

There’s an ulterior motive for the UAW, according to Casteel. If they can show support for the NFL, those players might just return the favor when it comes time for negotiations between the UAW and the automakers later this year. Definitely a story to follow.




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