Governor Scott Walker and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have a lot in common. They are both into busting unions and hiring scab workers to replace them to supposedly save money and “make it better”. Of course, it’s about greed and about undermining decent hard working people and replacing them with people who will work for less and with less benefits and job security. It’s as mythical as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) mission to deregulate, defund, deny and demonize workers and working conditions so that those who bought into the ALEC agenda can make even more money while getting corporate welfare in the process.
Scott Walker tweeted this after the controversial game-ending call by replacement referees cost the Green Bay Packers to lose to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football where they lost 14-12:
After catching a few hours of sleep, the #Packers game is still just as painful. #Returntherealrefs
Walker, who gained his reputation as a union buster, wants the unionized NFL referees back on the field. The irony is priceless. Apparently, Walker is at odds with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who wants to follow Walker’s example as a union buster. As the talks continue, the union referees are willing to work while negotiations are in process, but the league team owners are also complicit in wanting to bust the union as well.
Even though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff spent 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday trying to reach an agreement with the NFL Referees Association, they’re still deadlocked on several issues, including pay and the league wanting to take away pension plans for the officials, who earn up to $150,000 a year for part-time work. And even after fan outrage following the Monday night game, which many thought the Packers should have won, the NFL upheld the officials’ decision that gave the Seahawks a victory.
And as long as stadiums are filled and television ratings are high, don’t expect Goodell and the owners to budge very much.
“The brand power of the NFL needs more than one screw-up to affect it,” said Juda Engelmayer, senior vice-president for crisis management for 5W Public Relations in New York. “A couple more calls like this, and the public will start seeing the owners as greedy people who don’t care about the game any more.
“When Roger Goodell is setting out to bust the union to get what he wants, the trick is to show you can do better without the union. In this case he’s failing. He’s actually proving the union’s point that they’re needed.”
Many polticians and other NFL fans chimed in on how the NFL union referees should be able to get what they need so the NFL brand is not damaged and turned into something akin to cheesy professional wrestling. Wisconsin Representative Chris Larson made some very valid points about the situation:
Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson, who also tweeted his anger over Monday night’s game, said he thinks the NFL referees’ labor dispute will change the minds of some people who previously were anti-union.
“People end up thinking you can get good work for cheap, you can always find a cheaper way and it’s going to be just as good a result,” Larson said. “I would hope that Scott Walker is just as outraged about decreased quality of teachers that we’re going to get as he is with replacement refs in the NFL.”
You’d never think professional sports, the Green Bay Packers and the politics of union busting would ever merge into a story, but you just never know how the news cycle will turn. As it stands, supporting the NFL as of the time this post was written is supporting union-busting. Viewers and fans of NFL games should realize that. Hopefully, the team owners and the NFL management will see the light and support unions.
The scab referees were replaced with the union referees, thanks to pressure from the public and the power of collective bargaining.