What Do You Care About? | The Difference between the NFL’s Labor Union and the Chicago Teacher Strike

The proverbial $#!& finally hit the fan with the late night ending to last week’s Monday Night Football game showcasing the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. If you have not seen the play itself, view the video replay on YouTube. NFL fandom has reared its ugly head since the end of that game screaming for blood because of the horribly missed call by the replacement refs; that is, except for Seattle fans (they’ll do anything for a win). This ended up forcing the end of the labor disagreement between the NFL and the officials’ union; a deal was reached and the real refs go back to work immediately.

NFL Lockout Details (NY Times)

  • NFL wanted to dismantle the pensions for officials – officials will keep them
  • NFL wanted to cap salaries – average official salary will increase 15%
  • NFL has option to hire full-time officials (everyone is currently sub-contracted) in 2013

What’s interesting about this is that it was considered a “lock out” meaning that the NFL refused to allow the referees into the games until they (the refs) agreed to the terms the NFL wanted. Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) finally caved as a result of the public outcry over horrible officiating since the season began.

Public outcry over this entertainment industry has largely out shadowed another significant labor dispute in recent weeks – the Chicago Teacher’s Strike. This one means the teachers refused to come to work until their demands were met.

Chicago Teacher Strike Details (The Economist)

  • The Teachers Union (TU) want control over hiring and firing of teachers (not teachers and schools)
  • The TU does not like utilizing teacher evaluations – a modified, lower impact evaluation created
  • The teachers ended with an average 17% increase in pay
  • The school year was lengthened, keep teachers at work longer – win for city and education

You would hope that our country would deem educational issues more important than professional sports, but I don’t think anyone alive actually believes that’s true. This is where it hurts, though.

The average Chicago teacher’s salary was $71,236 (ABC News). Notice the financial discrepancies. Notice the pay verses teachers in other cities and states. Notice the teachers willing to harm education for children for a minor increase in pay and the incentive to NOT work harder to educate. Notice the officials were locked out over pensions and raises for a multi-billion dollar industry.

The thing that makes this article so ostentatious is the fact that we are comparing entertainment to education. By looking at the salary figures it is an insult. It is, however, worth noting who the plaintiffs were. Who cared enough to cause work stoppage. The NFL didn’t want to pay officials their pensions. The teachers didn’t want to be paid based on their quality of teaching. It seems to me there are a few priorities out of whack.

Americans, we need to pay more attention to the important things in life – of which a football game (as much as I love the sport) is not included. We also need to understand that only so much money to go around the people who work harder, grow smarter, and fight stronger are the ones who will succeed. Grouping together to fight against those standards goes against what’s best for everyone on the individual level. Why not accept incentive based pay? Because it requires them to put daily effort in what they do. I believe that is one of the biggest reasons our economic system is in such shambles.

Then again, the vast majority of professional sports officials are also board certified lawyers…

How about you? Did you even hear about the teacher’s strike?

Teachers' Excuse for Not Starting Merit Based Pay

From http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/14/opinion/navarrette-teachers-unions/index.html – Don’t you think a solid argument would be more than, “just because you don’t have to do it, I shouldn’t either”?

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