Anyone who has even a passing interest in football knows of the call heard 'round the world during the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday Night Football. In fact, there would be no reason to explain exactly what happened because you know.
You know because everyone knows. It was on the front page of the Houston Chronicle's website Tuesday. What you might not know is that it actually caused some movement in the lockout between the referees' union and the NFL, according to the Associated Press. The league and the refs returned to the bargaining table, trying to resolve the impasse over pensions.
What will ultimately decide this question? Will it be business judgment or popular outcry?
A union helps its members by giving them the power to bargain as a unit instead of just one person against a multibillion-dollar corporation. But like any organization, a union is susceptible to human greed.
The event that led up to this lockout was the NFL's requirement that its referees quit any other job they had and take a 16% pay cut, according to Pittsburgh Magazine. Unsurprisingly, the refs balked at the idea and now we have what has been described as "a very well-considered middle finger from the owners to everyone else involved in the broader NFL transaction," according to The Classical.
As with any union, the power lies in collective bargaining. If some of the referees had started back at the lower pay rate, then there would be no reason for the owners to give in to the rest of the referees' request for a pittance of a wage increase (when compared to the $9 billion the league takes in each year).
Unlike the Chicago teachers' strike, there is no budget crisis in the NFL. Arguably, the referees who make the game a game should be able to obtain the benefits of the growth in popularity of football. Were it not for the union, it's likely that all NFL refs would be like the replacements out there now trying their best without having the proper training to tackle the pressure they're now under.
This image from The Classical sums it up.
- Call a Houston Employment Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Managers at Apple Going Through Union Awareness Training (FindLaw's Houston Employment Law Blog)
- Janitors' Union Strikes for Higher Wages: $9k per Year Not Enough (FindLaw's Houston Employment Law Blog)