Peripheral Revision

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Owners’ Lock Out of NFL Players Raises Some Big Questions

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Public employees in Madison and professional football players in Green Bay both face powerful and hostile managements trying to undermine their unions.

David Morris, Alternet, March 24, 2011

What do public employees in Madison earning $40,000 a year and professional football players in Green Bay earning $1.5 million a year have in common? They both face powerful and hostile managements trying to undermine their unions.

The battle between labor and management is always uneven. Up until the 1930s management didn’t even have to negotiate with its workers. Owners could fire union organizers. Courts routinely declared unions an illegal “restraint of trade” and ruled that by trying to negotiate collectively unions were violating the “contract rights” of individual employees and giant corporations to freely negotiate salaries and working conditions.

Only in 1937 did workers finally gain the legal right to form unions and bargain collectively. Corporations were legally required to bargain “in good faith”. Congress established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and gave it judicial authority to enforce labor rights. The NLRB did so enthusiastically for the first few decades, modestly in the 1970s, and not at all after Ronald Reagan took office when he nominated, and Congress confirmed as Chairman of the NLRB Donald Dotson, a man who viewed collective bargaining the way 19th-century courts did, as “the destruction of individual freedom, and the destruction of the marketplace as the mechanism for determining the value of labor”.

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Written by peripheralrevision

03/27/2011 at 3:46 pm

Zirin – NFL Lockout: Which Side Are You On?

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By Dave Zirin, Edge of Sports, March 6, 2011

As an NFL lockout and the possible cancellation of the 2011 season haunts the sports faithful across the country, reporters sought the opinion of a certain Chicago Bears fan living in Washington, DC: Barack Obama.

As someone who has watched the president spend three years appearing annoyed over the concerns of organized labor, I was not surprised by his comments. But I was still upset. Obama said, “You’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to a billion dollars. You’ve got players who are making millions of dollars…. When people are working to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids’ college education is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the president of the United States intervening.”

The news flash for reporters was that “Obama will not be intervening.” But for me, the part that made my eyes narrow was Obama’s repetition from the bully pulpit that all the problems in the NFL is about “billionaires vs. millionaires.” He might as well have said, “a pox on both their houses”

There are so many reasons why this is wrong and even more reasons why fans, labor activists and progressives should stand proudly with the players.

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Written by peripheralrevision

03/06/2011 at 3:41 am

Posted in Sports