FanDuel - WFBC

January 12, 2011

NFL Lockout Looming: Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah participated in a media conference call.

posted by kokaku to football at 08:36 AM - 52 comments

I just came to post the same link.

This is the most alarming part for me :

"In what may be the most unreal consequence of the players' health insurance running out in the event of a lockout, there are pregnant players' wives asking Fujita if they should induce labor before the lockout. When Goodell was given these concerns months ago by the players, his response was, "Well, you'll want to get something done (in the CBA) then, won't you?""

And then :

"In the event of a lockout, is there anything, legal or otherwise, preventing the players from either taking over the UFL, or starting an alternate league to play in 2011?"

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:58 AM on January 12

I think the CBA induces headaches only, not labour.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:40 AM on January 12

With regards to insurance, I think the players could come up with some sort of backup plan should a lockout become a reality. As for pregnant wives, NFL players, whether they are at the top of the pay scale or making the league minimum, are still some of the best equipped financially to pay for delivery of a baby, which generally ranges in cost from between $7,000 and $11,000 (for a C-section). Hopefully they're not going to attempt something that would jeopardize the possible health of a baby because of the insurance issue.

As for a "alternate league," the logistics of a venture like that would be astronomical. If a lockout dragged on for more than a year or so, maybe it would be looked at, but otherwise, I don't think so.

There have been lockouts and work-stoppages before, and the fans flock back when it's over. Nothing down those lines will change.

And Jerry Jones saying a lockout would be "devastating" is only looking at it from a revenue standpoint. Don't think for a minute owners or players care one bit about how the average person who counts on money made during NFL games, or fans themselves, feels for one second.

I enjoy football, but I actually watched much, much less this year than in any year ever. Probably the best fall/early winter I have experienced. Rather than sitting in front of a TV every Sunday I was out, doing things, hanging with the family, etc. It would be nice if more people could take that type of thing from any lockout that may occur and realize, for the fan, it doesn't have to be some huge tragedy.

posted by dyams at 10:08 AM on January 12

I'm always stunned when I'm reminded that Americans have to pay to give birth in a hospital.

Las Vegas (and illegal betting parlours) would take a beating if the NFL season were disrupted/lost.

The UFL might do well by picking up some college graduate players, but I think the CFL might be the league that everyone will gravitate towards.

posted by grum@work at 10:45 AM on January 12

Maybe Vegas will offset with bets on whether there will be a lockout

posted by kokaku at 10:58 AM on January 12

which generally ranges in cost from between $7,000 and $11,000 (for a C-section)

Where are you getting those numbers from? It's not what the Health and Human Services says. Moreover, you're talking simply about the cost of delivery without any complications and without anyone staying in the hospital. And while all NFL players are making good money relative to the national average, most are making close to the minimum and may not yet have saved much.

Put it to you this way: would you want to go into the hospital treating it like you have a budget for how much care your child can have, regardless of what that number is?

Goodell should switch to F1, where the sight of executives in Nazi regalia isn't shocking.

posted by yerfatma at 11:19 AM on January 12

Put it to you this way: would you want to go into the hospital treating it like you have a budget for how much care your child can have, regardless of what that number is?

Point is, they have options. If, as a group, the players want to look into supplemental coverage for a pending lockout, there's probably a good chance they'll get it.

I can't access the site I got my numbers from regarding costs right now, but yes, everything I read varies a few thousand, and it does not include potential complications. As for NFL players saving money when playing for the minimum, that puts them at par with much of the country, who generally don't (or aren't able to) save money, and probably don't have insurance.

The potential of a lockout has been talked about for quite some time. The failure of the union to properly prepare and assist the players on what they need to allow for and take care of is not acceptable.

posted by dyams at 12:09 PM on January 12

The failure of the union to properly prepare and assist the players on what they need to allow for and take care of is not acceptable.

You're begging the question by assuming the owners' demands are reasonable.

posted by yerfatma at 12:21 PM on January 12

I'm not the expert on insurance, but would health insurance really stop covering players if the CBA ran out, even if they are still paying premiums?

posted by bender at 12:56 PM on January 12

That's what happens when jobs end. Then, they offer you COBRA for awhile. After that, you are on your own.

I can't even imagine how expensive insurance would be for NFL players given their preexisting conditions.

posted by bperk at 01:06 PM on January 12

At a time when many Americans are struggling to have medical insurance or even a job for that matter, both the players and owners should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to reach an agreement. Frankly as much as I love football, should these spoiled multi-millionaires fail to come to some acceptable agreement, or at least extension of the current one, I for one will not give a shit. Actually if it weren't for all the people like stadium workers, food service workers and other peripheral employees, I love to see both sides suffer.

I am sick of the owners and players whining about how tough it is to be an NFL player or owner. I only wish fans would have the fortitude to organize and boycott this years super bowl or something to show these folks who really has the power.

In any case, between the networks, the NFL, the players union, the municipalities where they play, the Vegas bookmakers, and everybody else that has a huge money stake in professional football can't agree enough to make next season happen without a lockout then I say great. A year without professional football will not be the end of the world. The weakest position of all is the players position as without football they really will suffer the most, as many are barely qualified for any other kind of work, and certainly not work that will benefit them anywhere near what playing football does.

The game is so much bigger than the players, which is why even college football generates such money. It doesn't matter what level of players are on the field, as long as the games are competitive, football fans can enjoy them. The reason NFL football has the best athletes is because that is where the best money is now. Do the players think there is a better deal out there for them than the NFL? Have fun in Canada, or Arena Football or choose another career. Why should we really give a crap? Funny thing is athletes line up to play football in high school and college for nothing more than the love of the game. Suddenly when they are offered hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to play the same game, it is suddenly life threatening, damaging to their families, and not a good deal? Screw them.

This is another example of how a union can actually loose jobs for their membership. Maybe the players union should carefully study what the auto workers and other unions have essentially destroyed and take note. Times are changing and one look at the benefit package NFL players have should be enough to convince anybody that most would be happy to accept what they have.

The whole pregnant wives BS reminds me of Mike Tysons comment about needing to feed his family when he had hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank and was justifying biting off Holyfields ear. He needed to protect his ability to feed his family. The whole situation is laughable.

posted by Atheist at 01:29 PM on January 12

I can't even imagine how expensive insurance would be for NFL players given their preexisting conditions.

Some former NFL players file workman's comp claims in California (assuming they played at least one game there) so they can receive lifetime medical care for their injuries from the teams and their insurance carriers.

The health liabilities of former players are on a collision course with the NFL.

At a time when many Americans are struggling to have medical insurance or even a job for that matter, both the players and owners should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to reach an agreement.

An agreement requires both sides to be willing to reach one. If the NFL owners are true to form, they'll make the players suffer a while during a work stoppage to get them to agree to terms more favorable to ownership. That's how it always goes.

posted by rcade at 02:05 PM on January 12

these spoiled multi-millionaires

As opposed to those paragons of selflessness, the billionaire owners.

Maybe the players union should carefully study what the auto workers and other unions have essentially destroyed and take note.

If that were the least bit analogous, it'd be a great point.

posted by yerfatma at 02:40 PM on January 12

As opposed to those paragons of selflessness, the billionaire owners.

Exactly. Why do so many people so side with the richest side over the poorest side? Oh the poor CEOs/owners/billionaires/stockholders have to suffer because the greedy workers/players want to get a share of the billions being made. Now college football is fair because the players make absolutely no money and the people with the money get even richer.

posted by bperk at 03:16 PM on January 12

Jealousy, bperk - they have more than we do, so the obvious answer to reasonable concerns (like the impact of playing an 18 game season) is 'stop your griping.'

posted by kokaku at 03:31 PM on January 12

Isn't "stop your griping" what we're all told by our bosses when we're told to work extra hours, days, weeks, forfeit vacation, take pay cuts, etc.? These days everyone makes it pretty clear that we can all be replaced. Check out the unemployment line.

I'm not unsympathetic to any workers when they feel they're treated unfairly, but it's easy to see Atheist's point. Go tell some 50 year old construction laborer that runs a jackhammer 12 hours a day that the NFL players don't want to play 2 more games, and see how sympathetic he is.

And maybe we're not comparing apples to apples. I don't know what is on the table for the players. Will their salary increase with an extended season, or will they make the same pay since they're paid for preseason games already?

posted by kcfan4life at 04:06 PM on January 12

When I used the tern all these spoiled multi-millionaires, I was referring to both sides the players and the owners. FWIW I think both sides are being incredibly selfish and foolish. I also pointed out the the players have more to loose mainly because most of the NFL owners don't make their living or fortunes from football, and the loss of football while it may impact their pocket book negatively will no doubt have much of an effect on their lives compared to the players who without football for the most part will loose their ability to earn anything close to what football makes for them. Both sides seem determined to kill the golden goose with greed.

The reality is if football will go on at some point. The owners will just lock out the union, offer contracts to non union players, that will still be very attractive to great athletes because the NFL will always be able to pay more and provide more money to a player than any other football league in the world, therefore attracting the best football talent and any player that doesn't like it can feel free to sell his services to the Arena Football League, or the CFL or any new league they want to organize themselves.

That kid Luck, from Stanford is no dummy, get the degree, as it is the best bargaining chip you can have, an viable option if football doesn't work out.

I am not so sure why more people don't see that the game of football and particularly the NFL has done more to provide the best opportunity for a football player than any other league ever. That guys who can run, jump, throw and catch have opportunities that 99.9999999 % of people in this world will never have. At what point is enough money enough. Guys risk their lives on fire departments, police departments, military, in coal mines or on oil rigs for nothing near what a mediocre safety can make in one NFL season. I just get tired of the complaining. If you don't like the job or want the job, don't apply for the job. Develop an alternative and only accept what you are willing to willingly.

If you are athletically blessed, and are a BMOC in high school, get a free ride to a major college and then decide to accept a lucrative contract to play pro football, or just walk on and get a job in the NFL, what do you really have to complain about. Anybody who plans their whole life on the risky plan of becoming a pro player is taking a great risk and deserves the great reward of success if it should come. No different if your dream is to become a rock star.

The whole system of being a union member but also being a free agent is kind of an oxy-moron. I don't see how you can fight for collective compensation fair to all players and still negotiate your own free agency contract. Credit to the players for accomplishing this and also getting revenue sharing etc but come on some point something has got to give. Greed is what has created this and greed is what will break this union also.

posted by Atheist at 04:12 PM on January 12

At what point is enough money enough.

Ask the owners.

posted by rcade at 05:19 PM on January 12

That kid Luck, from Stanford is no dummy, get the degree, as it is the best bargaining chip you can have, an viable option if football doesn't work out

With a degree from Stanford and the notoriety he has already gained he'll be just fine. That degree alone will earn him a higher salary than playing football in the CFL.

I side with the players on most issues, although I am maddened when either side grabs so much money that the game becomes unaccessible to the everyday fan.

This isn't a league where the owners are hurting financially, and it's the players who make the NFL great. Do not allow football and it's fans suffer by yielding to all of the owners demands only to make the richest of society richer.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:21 PM on January 12

These days everyone makes it pretty clear that we can all be replaced.

Except that's not true in sports. That's the whole point. You wouldn't watch the NFL if it was a bunch of out-of-shape senior citizens playing. How many guys running jackhammers are doing so because all the construction companies in the country had a draft and one picked him? The whole point is there's almost no price elasticity to pro athletes: they are the best there are and anything else is going to be an inferior (and thus less profitable) product.

Please stop telling me all about how they should be grateful to have a job and it's just like your situation at work.

And Andrew Luck is definitely a great example of what NFL players should do: be born into a rich family and have a dad who played in the NFL so you can afford to stay in school and get good advice.

posted by yerfatma at 05:32 PM on January 12

The whole system of being a union member but also being a free agent is kind of an oxy-moron. I don't see how you can fight for collective compensation fair to all players and still negotiate your own free agency contract. Credit to the players for accomplishing this and also getting revenue sharing etc but come on some point something has got to give. Greed is what has created this and greed is what will break this union also.

I'm pretty sure that basic rules like work place safety, health insurance, and work hours/days are important for all players, regardless of the pay they earn.

Want to know what happens when you don't have a union in sports?
Charles Comiskey (owner of the White Sox in the early part of the 1900s) used to charge his players a "laundry fee" to clean their jerseys.
When they rebelled (and played in dirty jerseys, earning the name "The Black Sox" before they even fixed the World Series in 1919), he relented and agreed to pay for their laundry.
He then took out the cost of it from their final paycheck that season.
And there was nothing they could do about it.

That's why you have unions in professional sports.

posted by grum@work at 05:48 PM on January 12

The thing about pregnant wives annoys me. Especially induction. (Which usually leads to a c-section.) Women gave birth for hundreds of thousands of years without medical intervention. My wife has had two homebirths. And those were after the c-section with the first. Which the medical establishment will tell you in dangerous due to uterine rupture etc... But the stats show you're more likely to die from a second c-section.

Anyhoo, off topic a bit there, sorry, subject I'm passionate about...

It's really hard to know who the bad guys are in this. Part of me thinks "Fucking greedy bastards", but then the other part of me says "But then the owners will be fucking greedy bastards so it's only fair the people putting their health on the line get their fair share."

GAH! Stupid cognitive dissonance!

posted by Drood at 06:25 PM on January 12

The average NFL career lasts three and a half years. The average player has that window to earn enough money to justify the long-term damage that years of football will leave them with on retirement - the bad knees, operations, dementia, etc. A primer on player health

You better believe they should fight for every cent they can grab in the next CBA.

posted by deflated at 06:46 PM on January 12

Both sides are greedy and anger me. The NFL is a Congressionally protected monoploy and the public pays for their stadiums. Why can't Congress control the earnings of both sides just like government regulates utilities?

posted by Shotput at 06:54 PM on January 12

Women gave birth for hundreds of thousands of years without medical intervention.

... and maternal death rates were horrendous. The U.S. maternal death rate was 1 in 100 live births in 1900 and is 11 in 100,000 today. Home births today are pretty safe with proper prenatal care -- one of my relatives had all three of her kids at home -- but personally I'm glad my wife went to the hospital.

posted by rcade at 07:27 PM on January 12

To add to deflated's point - that 3.5 years comes after a dozen years of non-professional buildup and an accumulation of hits that increases the risk of cognitive impairment. Yes, they make a lot more than most people, but they do it in an industry that makes proportionally far more off their efforts.

Has there been an article/study that looks the median NFL salary over a player's lifetime relative to NFL profits over that span and compares that to other industries (e.g. construction or software or farming)?

posted by kokaku at 07:43 PM on January 12

Both sides are greedy and anger me.

I don't understand. How can they be greedy about something that's theirs? The can argue over how the pie gets divided up, but regardless of how, the pie is still the same size.

posted by yerfatma at 09:33 PM on January 12

COBRA insurance will most definitely be available for these players if it comes to that. Yeah, it's more expensive than what they're paying now, but easily affordable for them. It goes out 18 months, so the pregnancy issue is a diversion.

As to the ability for the owners to replace the players, if the average career is 3.5 years, it would only take that long to replace most of the current players. Fans at least partially accepted the replacement players last time, so maybe the owners are thinking they will again. If they can force huge reductions in salaries a three year period of lower income might be worth it.

Not really on the owners' side, as I think both sides are making way too much money. They priced me out of the equation years ago. As with all pro sports, I keep thinking they'll hit a point at which fans stop supporting them, but until people quit filling arenas the end does not appear in sight.

posted by dviking at 09:40 PM on January 12

How can they be greedy about something that's theirs?

While I see your point, I think the "greed" comes in the form of both sides wanting more even though they're all getting rich. Where do the owners turn? To the cities they hold hostage over stadium deals. To the politicians eager to look good that approve tax concessions. People that aren't even sports fans end up paying for the stadium wars.

posted by dviking at 09:51 PM on January 12

I'm not unsympathetic to any workers when they feel they're treated unfairly, but it's easy to see Atheist's point. Go tell some 50 year old construction laborer that runs a jackhammer 12 hours a day that the NFL players don't want to play 2 more games, and see how sympathetic he is.

So, because you're exploited and your job sucks, everyone else has to be in the same sorry mess? What sense does that make? I say more power to the players, I don't give a damn what they're paid. The principle of collective bargaining needs to be strengthened, not further undermined. If it weren't for unions, none of y'all would have a weekend.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:51 PM on January 12

Please don't shed any tears for the owners. They have managed to con the TV networks into a contract that pays them every one of those billions of dollars even if they lock out the players, pay them nothing, and deliver 0 games in 2011/12. They have no intention of negotiating. Their intent is to crush the players and impose their will about 18 games, rookie salary caps and dropping the team salary caps (or keeping them the same with a roster expansion).

The owners have all the money and all the cards in this game.

posted by gradioc at 09:52 PM on January 12

If it weren't for unions, none of y'all would have a weekend.

Except, of course, that unions didn't create weekends, but it does make for nice propaganda for their flyers.

posted by dviking at 01:25 AM on January 13

So, dviking, you still turn up at the office every Saturday, do you?

They still work 6 days a week where I'm living, and if the OH&S "standards" in most workplaces are anything to go by, unions here are a life and death necessity not a luxury.

posted by owlhouse at 02:39 AM on January 13

if the average career is 3.5 years, it would only take that long to replace most of the current players. Fans at least partially accepted the replacement players last time

In 3.5 years the league would be dead. Also, your math is a bit strained. The average career is 3.5 (or whatever) because of so many players who last a year or less due to injury or the fact they are marginal practice squad guys. The reason we watch football is for the stars, most of whom have careers a lot longer than 3.5 years. The only thing 3.5 years time would definitely replace is the gunner on every special teams unit.

posted by yerfatma at 08:07 AM on January 13

Both sides are greedy and anger me.

You, selfishly, are angry you cannot watch football. The players are, selfishly, trying to make as much money as possible over the span of their relatively short careers. I think their needs are more important than yours. Sorry.

In 3.5 years the league would be dead.

People seem pretty happy with the college game and it's inferior product. I don't disagree that the NFL would wilt away but I think it would be because of a competing league. I think people would still watch replacement players for a long time as long as those logos on the helmet stay the same.

posted by tron7 at 10:55 AM on January 13

Am I remembering a different set of scab players? I was only about 8, but I remember those games being pretty awful. Admittedly they didn't get a whole season or much practice, but there was a lot of Football Follies crap going on.

Also, the college games on major TV tend to be played by big-time programs who feed players into the NFL. How often do we hear a joke about the best college team being good enough to beat the worst NFL teams? The best players from college would not be trickling into the NFL during a strike unless they were fools. Anyone with remaining eligibility would stay in college and the rest would go to alternate leagues to wait out the labor negotiations without being branded a scab and left out of the big money when the NFL resumed.

posted by yerfatma at 11:40 AM on January 13

This conversation makes me think of the fundamental dissonance in capitalism: sellers charge as much as can be got and buyers get priced out. In some cases priced out of luxuries, like Porsches or Jets season tickets, and for the less fortunate, basics like health care, food and shelter.

Unfortunately the people who do best under our system (i.e., the wealthy) generally tend to drive the perception of good and bad. NFL owners, for instance, are generally speaking "wealthy enough" but any politician who proposed that teams pay all the costs for a new stadium--and by all I mean road and other infrastructure costs--would get laughed out of the city. Similar responses would surely be had to suggesting a cap on ticket prices tied to, say, median regional incomes.

Free markets rule! Almost anything else gets you tarred as a socialist (these days) or communist, or just a lunatic.

Not that I have a good answer but since everyone else seems to be trotting out their pet peeves and such seems fair for me to join in.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:15 PM on January 13

How often do we hear a joke about the best college team being good enough to beat the worst NFL teams?

Yeah, but that's a joke. This is no laughing matter. My point was, I think the product would be similar to college level football, which a lot of people seem to like. If there were only college football and the depleted NFL I think people would still watch the NFL.

The alternate league would be a problem but from being a fan of MMA starting a new league to take on a entrenched and ruthless incumbent is difficult business. I think you would get enough players to stay in the NFL and marginalize the competitive advantage. Even if you put a better product on the field, it doesn't ensure success.

posted by tron7 at 01:39 PM on January 13

Still waiting for the story that truly explains a lockout. The way I understand it (which is probably completely wrong) is that in a lockout (unlike a strike) the employer (in this case the NFL or individual teams) locks out the players and prevent them from working. In such a case, the players would be considered layed off, would qualify for unemployment benefits (what, maybe a third of their salaries from the government for up to 99 weeks) and COBRA benefits to extend their health insurance. The teams on the other hand could hire only temporary workers to work the jobs of the locked out players. But I am sure if they do that, then they will cut the prices charged to season ticket holders and others as well as give a rebate to their broadcast partners; right?

posted by graymatters at 02:50 PM on January 13

In 3.5 years the league would be dead. Also, your math is a bit strained. The average career is 3.5 (or whatever) because of so many players who last a year or less due to injury or the fact they are marginal practice squad guys. The reason we watch football is for the stars, most of whom have careers a lot longer than 3.5 years. The only thing 3.5 years time would definitely replace is the gunner on every special teams unit

In 3.5 years from now, far more than the gunner on the special teams would be gone. A 10 year career would be pretty good for many positions, especially running back and linemen. So 35% of those folks are gone as well, maybe more, as 10 years might be stretching it for many players.

As to watching stars, do you immediately quit watching your team if the star player is injured? Most keep watching. I fully agree that the quality level would go down drastically, but I'm not so sure all the college athletes would honor a strike if it looked like the owners meant business. Yeah, the few that come out early each year would stay in school, but what is that senior that really never took his education seriously, and has run up debt going to do? The union isn't going to take care of him, so he'll need to make a buck. Are they all going to go to the CFL or Arena leagues?

Oh, as to So, dviking, you still turn up at the office every Saturday, do you? , yeah, pretty much. Most Sundays too. But, I bring it on myself as I own one small (very small) business and have a regular gig as well. I'm not anti-union, employ some union workers on occasion, just wanted to correct the wide-spread assumption that unions somehow created the weekend when that is not the case.

posted by dviking at 07:12 PM on January 13

I'm not anti-union, employ some union workers on occasion, just wanted to correct the wide-spread assumption that unions somehow created the weekend when that is not the case.

The article that you cited seems to think otherwise, but okay, if you prefer we'll say that unions had nothing to do with the weekend. Let's credit them instead with workplaces that can be exited in case of fire -- how's that?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:39 PM on January 13

I see that Wiki was updated earlier today...nice.

Unions have done a lot of good over the years, worker safety being one of their best accomplishments. Don't really want to get into a discussion on the pro's and con's of unions as it is almost as loaded a topic as religion, perhaps more so.

posted by dviking at 09:26 PM on January 13

I see that Wiki was updated earlier today...nice.

Yes, it looks like a paragraph that had previously been deleted without any reason was added back in -- at least that's my interpretation of the history.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:32 PM on January 13

Are you referring to the very small scale cotton mill that accommodated their Jewish workers by giving Saturday off as well? There are probably scores of companies that didn't work their employees six or seven days a week prior to Henry Ford figuring out that he actually could be more competitive by going to a shorter week. The huge advancements in engineering/technology during the later part of the 1800's and early 1900's were as much a cause for shorter weeks as were benevolent bosses or unions.

For the record, I never touched that page of Wiki.

posted by dviking at 12:24 AM on January 14

So you're suggestion is the idea of a weekend came about due to the benevolence of Robber Barons at the turn of the 20th Century. I think there's a ton of history to support that position.

posted by yerfatma at 09:00 AM on January 14

Go back to your remedial reading classes...I never said any such thing and you probably know it.

posted by dviking at 10:09 AM on January 14

Well what do you think was the cause then if it wasn't unions and it wasn't owners? Is the answer Jesus?

posted by yerfatma at 10:27 AM on January 14

Well, as the article stated, Henry Ford was the first owner of a large business that granted set weekends as a way to better utilize his workers. Also, as I stated, the advancements in the technology involved in most industrial settings during the late 1800's and early 1900's helped create weekends as much as any owner or union did. As worker productivity increased on a dramatic scale, most (key word there) industrial complexes no longer had to work seven days a week to get the same productivity. Advances in electrical power/lighting/heating also made it possible to run plants more effectively at night, so many plants started shift work as well. We can start a separate discussion on the pro's and con's of shift work...personally, I think it kills people and I'm surprised unions don't fight against it harder. Add in the Great Depression, and the New Deal political movement, and you had companies spreading work out over more people, thus a longer weekend was possible and/or mandated.

Keeping in mind that there was always a weekend. Religions took either Saturday or Sunday off, so it was adding a day that occured. Having grown up on a farm I know my Grandfather used love to say "someone tell those damn chickens that it's the weekend". Not everyone gets to punch out at Friday at 5:00.

Again, I'm not slamming unions, I think they have done a lot of great things, just was clarifying that they shouldn't get credit for "inventing the weekend" There was always a weekend for at least the past 2000 years, and even the idea of expanding it to 2 days is not attribitable to just unions.

posted by dviking at 05:57 PM on January 14

While we're crediting the unions for all the wonderful things they have done, let's not forget the role of unions in helping make the public education system in America everything it is today.

posted by holden at 12:04 AM on January 15

I had a great public education. My kids are doing pretty well too. So thank you, unions!

I think the biggest problem with schools is that they're underfunded and poor school districts get the shaft.

posted by rcade at 08:10 AM on January 15

I am glad you got a great public school education. I did too and my kids probably will as well. But, by most indicators, public school education in America, particularly in larger cities, is abysmal.

Successful public education stories in America are in spite of the unions, not because of them. The teachers unions have done very little to enhance education and very much to protect their members. They protect adults, without much regard for the well-being of the children. And that is too bad. My wife worked in the public schools here in Chicago for a number of years and I can assure you that the teachers unions were and continue to be a major impediment to meaningfully reforming education, taking new approaches to improve performance, or anything that upsets the pretty awful status quo. And more money is not the solution (their are many studies, and not just from free market/school choice think tanks, showing that academic performance has not risen or has has dropped, over the past 20 or so years despite significant funding increases); allocation of resources and meaningful education reform is.

Bringing this back on topic, considering how easy it is to get cut/fired in the NFL and the lack of guaranteed contracts, the teachers' unions have cut much better deals for their members in terms of the difficulty of their members' employment being terminated even in the face of poor performance. (Of course the guaranteed portion of an NFL player's salary my well easily outstrip what a teacher might be paid over his/her entire career.)

posted by holden at 09:28 AM on January 15

But, by most indicators, public school education in America, particularly in larger cities, is abysmal.

Unless we stop funding schools with property taxes, which is how it works in the places I've lived, there will always be districts (and kids) getting shorted. Unions aren't perfect, but they take too much of the blame.

posted by rcade at 10:41 AM on January 15

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