Monday, February 21, 2011

Negotiating In Bad Faith

For reasons best left not discussed, I have a limited-time subscription to USA Today, which gave me the opportunity to read some remarkably biased coverage of the situation in Wisconsin. It's telling, really, that the Gannett read of the situation is that the workers need to agree to a situation where they can never again receive a raise above inflation, can't negotiate for anything beyond wages, and have to accept a promise from the governor that there will be no layoffs, as if a promise from a guy who is trying to roll back 50 years of collective bargaining gains is worth a damn. All while exempting said treatment from the unions that supported him in the last election. I don't care what your opinion of public employees are; this is just rank, and the coverage of the same is just obviously corporate.

And I'm sure that will lead to comments from y'all on my hopelessly left-wing nature, and OK, whatever. But it's really not what I want to get into, since this is a sports blog, despite the rampant off-topic nature of life in February. Rather, let's think over the NFLPA's situation. They are going to have to take an 18-game season whether they want it or not, whether it's going to work out from a health standpoint or not. They are going to have to take less of a cut of the revenue, and so on, and so on.

But what they don't have to do is, um, actually honor any of it.

Imagine the first two games of the upcoming NFL season where the players have decided to make the games meaningless. On the first play from scrimmage for the home team, the road team defense simply parts and allows a score to happen. If the road team is in offense, the QB simply hands the ball to a defensive player, who walks it in for a score. And for the next three hours, both teams run the kneel down play. After two games, every team would have a 1-1 record, and then the games would actually start in earnest.

Oh, and the world would end.

Sportsbooks would have either closed up shop, or taken an unbelievable hit. Fantasy sports leagues would have to throw out the first two weeks. Ratings would plunge through the floorboards, sportswriters would pule about how the season had lost all meaning, the public would burn jerseys and boo themselves hoarse at games, retributive moves would be made towards union reps... and there would be furious smoke-filled room negotiations to make sure that it didn't happen again.

Sessions with, well, actual leverage for labor. At least in the short run, and when it comes to football players, that's all there is, really.

1 comment:

CMJDad said...

"All while exempting said treatment from the unions that supported him in the last election."

The difference is that the supporting unions are private sector. In years gone by, you worked for the government (municipal, county, state, federal) for lower wages (relative to the private sector) with the expectation of good (damn good) benefits and a retirement package. Today, however, those same wages are higher than the private sector AND they still have the gold plated benefits.

Listen, the unions are not wholly to blame here. The politicians (team Red AND team Blue) gave the unions whatever they wanted in return for votes. Union leaders got greedy with other peoples money. Whatever balance there was in the system is long gone. Big government is the source of the problems. Unfortunately, many good, decent public sector workers are going to sacrifice in one way or another.

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