Northwestern Coach Talks Union: R. Cory Smith at BleacherReport.com writes that Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald has spoken publicly about whether football players at Northwestern should form a labor union. The players are set to vote on April 25 after a National Labor Relations Board regional director determined the players were employees pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act. Speaking to ESPN, Fitzgerald stated that "it’s in [the players’] best interests to vote no."
Interestingly, NW offensive lineman Brandon Vitabile also made a statement intimating that he agreed with Fitzgerald that unionizing could be counterproductive. "Guys have to realize the ramifications of what may occur," he said in speaking about the ripple-effects of forming a college athletes’ labor union.
NCAA Prez Rails Against College Athlete Unions: Don Wolken of USA Today Sports writes that yesterday, current NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that college athletes should not unionize. Calling the solution "grossly inappropriate," Emmert explained that athletes unionizing could destroy college athletics.
"To convert to a unionized employee model is to throw away the entire collegiate model for athletics," Emmert said during his annual Final Four news conference. "It would blow up everything about the collegiate model of athletics."
Emmert also expressed his irritation that the NCAA is not involved in the NW unionization campaign, but further noted that any decision will be litigated for years to come.
Former Labor Sec. Backs UAW in VW Dispute: Dave Flessner of the Times Free Press reports that last week, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich held a video-conference with labor leaders and community activists in Tennessee, during which he lampooned Tennessee politicos for speaking out against unionizing at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant.
“I just don’t think that any political leaders should do anything to influence a union vote,” Reich said during a video chat Friday night with more than 100 labor, church and community leaders gathered at the IBEW labor hall. “I think that violates the spirit of what is fair.”
Reich, a current professor and outspoken voice in the pro-labor movement, also stated that unions are necessary because they limit "growing income inequality in America."