In collective bargaining, both sides air out their demands and then attempt to come to an agreement. In the majority of cases, negotiations can become very heated. As one who has done collective bargaining sessions in the past, rarely does each side get exactly what they want.
But in the case of the National Football League and the Players Union, it seems like negotiations are one sided.
On March 3rd, the current CBA will expire. The big sticking point is the owners insistence on adding two more games to the season, expanding from 16 to 18 games. The season would start in the middle of August and end the second weekend of February. With the additional two games, the owners stand to make even more money. For the players, the possibility of injuries happening more often is one reason why they are hesitant to the owners demands.
Another issue is revenue sharing. The owners want to keep more of their total revenue for operating and investment expenses – about $1 billion off the top of total revenue – while reportedly offering players an 18 percent overall pay cut. Players would still get a 60 percent share, but it would be from a smaller pool of total revenue. Even though an 18 game schedule will benefit the owners with more revenue, it won’t benefit the players because they would still get the same amount of money. Only this time, they would have their payments spread out an extra two games.
Given the amount of money the owners stand to make, it would behove them to play hardball against the players. So what can the players do? They could respond by de-certifying as a union, filing an antitrust lawsuit and going on strike.
However, with the current state of labor in the United States in disarray and many people out of work, it will be mightily tough for the players to find people who are willing to sympathize with their position. They see the players as millionaires who shouldn’t be crying over spilled milk.
That’s why a lockout is more than just a possibility, it’s a reality. This is an opportunity for NFL owners to get exactly what they want and leave the players with nothing but crumbs.
It’s what happens when greed gets in the way of progress.