NLRB Decision has Limited Impact on FSU

Legitimate union concerns have now entered the changing landscape of college athletics as the NLRB ruled that Northwestern college football players are EMPLOYEES of the university and can unionize.

The first key point here for Seminole nation is that this ruling has absolutely no affect on FSU and it's players at this time. The ruling largely affects PRIVATE schools with state institutions having to abide by the individual state laws on unions. Florida's laws are as follows.

Fla. Const. Article 1, § 6 § 6. Right to Work The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization. The right of employees, by and through a labor organization, to bargain collectively shall not be denied or abridged. Public employees shall not have the right to strike. (Constitution Amended by General Election, 1944; Revised by General Election November 5, 1968)

§ 447.01. Regulating labor unions; state policy (1) Because of the activities of labor unions affecting the economic conditions of the country and the state, entering as they do into practically every business and industrial enterprise, it is the sense of the Legislature that such organizations affect the public interest and are charged with a public use. The working person, unionist or nonunionist, must be protected. The right to work is the right to live. (2) It is here now declared to be the policy of the state, in the exercise of its sovereign constitutional police power, to regulate the activities and affairs of labor unions, their officers, agents, organizers and other representatives, in the manner, and to the extent hereafter set forth. (Enacted 1943, amended effective July 1, 1997.)

How has Florida's "right to work" laws affected unions?

This is one thing the left and right agree on. If unions are barred from requiring employees to pay the cost of representation, there's a free-rider problem. Why bother sending money to my union if I'll benefit from its bargaining efforts regardless? Pretty soon, unions are drained of funds and can't launch as many organizing drives or wield influence.

And unions do get weakened. A 1998 survey of the econometric literature by William J. Moore found that right-to-work laws lead to more free-riding behavior among employees. That, in turn, leads to a decline in unionization drives, in organizing successes, and ultimately in overall union density. Recently, Idaho and Oklahoma saw their union densities drop after adopting right-to-work laws in the early 2000s.

The bottom line in all of this is that while the ruling is certainly a "landmark case" and we can't help but see issues down the road, FSU (and by extension UF, USF, UCF, FIU, and FAU) will find the environment to be much more difficult than in union heavy Chicago (Northwestern).

The real door that was opened...........

In this writer's opinion it was the wording that identified athletes as "employee's". This will most definitely open the door---and further the conversation---about athlete's getting paid.

However even within that context it is important to distinguish between the revenue sports (football and basketball) and the rest (which all lose money). That is the elephant in the room as no court of law can distinguish between the time spent practicing and playing ANY sport. Tennis, golf, cross country, and swimming athlete's at FSU work just as hard as football players do. They spend an equal amount of time "devoted" to their sport.

You are entering shaky ground with these non-revenue sports and unions. The athletes in these sports have much less of a case about getting paid as they are not producing the money. However aren't they doing the same thing? We just established that they are.

If there is something that the Northwestern football players missed it is this point on the other sports. They have no bargaining power. Collective or otherwise. Mr. Kain Colter should consider that a tennis player at Northwestern "unionizing" will earn him a trip home on the one year renewable scholarship. That is the deal. There is absolutely zero chance that coaches in the non-revenue are going to listen to demands from players. Zero. The universities will shut the programs down before bowing to the pressure.

It is this last point which makes this a very sad day in the United States. We see many scenario's where athletes are hurt with this ruling if certain parties try to take this too far. That is not a good thing.

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