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Effort to unionize NFL cheerleaders could be coming

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Prime Time RODerator

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    Effort to unionize cheerleaders could be coming
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 21, 2014


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    As more and more members of more and more NFL cheerleading squads take a stand against alleged wage violations, the effort could soon go to the next level.

    A former member of the Buffalo Jills tells Andrea Kremer of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that the league’s cheerleading squads soon may attempt to unionize.

    “We’re looking into possibly developing some type of union for girls going forward,” the former Jills cheerleader named Maria tells Kremer in an interview that debuts on June 24 at 10:00 p.m. ET. “So we’re not doing this to benefit ourselves. We’re, you know, done with cheering. This is for the future of the team, the future of these girls.”

    While it’s debatable whether having a union would help, having the threat of a union along with enough employees who are willing to pursue litigation could prompt all teams to treat the cheerleaders fairly and legally. The Bills, Raiders, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Jets currently face allegations of wage violations.

    To date, some teams have preyed on the reality that, given the competitive nature of the job, the candidates will suffer a variety of indignities — including getting paid less than minimum wage or not getting paid at all.

    “[D]oes it make it right?” a former Raiderette named Lacy said regarding the fact that many others happily would tolerate those conditions. “Tons of people would love to be a reporter. Does that mean you don’t deserve to be paid for your talent, for your time, for your hard work?”

    The NFL continues to decline to address the situation, and for good reason. In an era where the NFL attracts female fans by allowing the color pink to infiltrate in October the otherwise sacrosanct NFL uniform, evidence that female employees are being exploited and mistreated could alienate members of their gender.

    Regardless of gender, it’s wrong to take advantage of people who would do a job for free if they had to. Whether through litigation, legislation, or unionization, the time has come for change. The only question is whether the change will happen before the situation becomes an embarrassment for the NFL.

    It’s probably already too late for that.
     
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  2. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    Great if they unionize we'll get some fat ones:sneaky:
     
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  3. OldRock Well-Known Member

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    I believe our girls do need a union. They look a little underfed to me. They should make enough to put a little meat on those bones. Of course that's just my opinion, I bruise easily in my old age. :unsure:
     
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  4. OldRock Well-Known Member

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    You beat me to it. I still type too slow!
     
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  5. jjab360 Well-Known Member

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    It's about time. I know there are some smart cheerleaders out there, hard to believe they've been subjected to this kind of treatment for so long without anybody standing up and taking action.
     
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  6. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    I have some experience as a Union delegate. Maybe I should apply.
     
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  7. flv 

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    Not a topic i've paid much attention to but I don't see how the Bills could be sued. They don't employ cheerleaders. They sub-contract the job to a 3rd party employer. US employment legislation is not my strong suit.
     
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  8. bluecollarram Well-Known Member

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    Pay these women
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  9. rhinobean Well-Known Member

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    As a negotiator or a horn dog?
     
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  10. HE WITH HORNS Well-Known Member

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    Unions suck. If I had a team, I wouldn't have cheerleaders if they started demanding high wages and entitlements. If they want to make real money, they can get jobs in Vegas as cocktail waitresses.
     
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  11. OldRock Well-Known Member

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    I have. Uh, Maybe not. They didn't exactly look like that!
     
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  12. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    Actually if the teams won't treat them the way they want to be treated, they're doing the right thing, then the teams will decide how important they are to the package. I think if you kept track of how much time the cameras spend on them and contrast it with the team,they're a pretty important part of the spectacle and deserve some of the ENORMOUS pot.
    BTW I have NEVER been in a union , have issues with many of them, but this seems to be exactly why they came into being in the first place.
     
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  13. jjab360 Well-Known Member

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    +1

    Even if cheerleaders only get 1-2% of screentime on gamedays that's still 1-2% of a multi-billion dollar industry. Considering all the time they spend keeping their bodies in check and all the crap they have to put up with, not even getting paid minimum wage is absolutely ridiculous.
     
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  14. CGI_Ram Hamburger Connoisseur

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    So why do they do it?

    Don't get me wrong, I agree. The pay should be higher. But... Then again, it's obviously not the money that draws someone into this.
     
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  15. LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    That have no rhythm lol.......
     
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  16. RhodyRams Well-Known Member

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  17. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    I think most of the players would still play if the pay was far less and THAT they all do what they do players and cheerleaders alike for love of the sport.
    Thing is though the part they enjoy is all you really see and the stuff leading up to it so the league can benefit from the sparkling perfectly coordinated image is not fun,it's hard damned work and in the end the league profits in pretty remarcable measure from their efforts.

    Two things occur to me ,one this is why unions are to this day needed and two shame on the financially fat owners for not unionizing the cheerleaders themselves ,that would be the classy way to go.
    In a league that claims bona fides to fine players for a shirt not tucked in to deny that the only reason the cheerleaders are ON the field is because the add to the product is just naive.
    Again the league needs to help them organize now , they need to get out front and make this look like a parade cuz if they fight it they'll make an enemy of lots of good football fans ,the girls dads ,brothers boyfriends and over something that will cost them less them one superstars salary divided 32 ways.
    If they paid those girls $1000 a game,then if they only want to pay minimum wage for practice and a 2X minimum for public appearances ,I think the girls would be happy as hell and some of the better ones would stick around
     
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  18. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    #18
  19. Dieter the Brock SON OF JEN-ORIS

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    Union? That only means eventually they'll be scabs... Yikes
     
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  20. Prime Time RODerator

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    NFL Cheerleaders: We're not even making minimum wage
    By Gregory Wallace @gregorywallace

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    A lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders was the first of several this year filed by cheerleaders against their NFL teams.

    Cheerleading isn't as glamorous as one might think.


    Several current and former cheerleaders are suing their NFL employers over pay.

    Three separate suits filed against the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals describe contracts that don't guarantee the minimum wage and claim the cheerleaders are vastly underpaid.

    The suits say cheerleaders also aren't compensated for equipment they must buy, practices they must attend and community appearances they must make. Cheerleaders must meet exacting hair, makeup and uniform standards set by the team and keep up with physical fitness requirements, according to court documents.

    One former cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals, Alexa Brenneman, said she was paid no more than $90 for each game and worked 10 games. Including $75 for a public appearance, she said she was paid $855 for the 2013 season and worked "well over 300 hours a year."

    Including the games, practices and other events, she calculated her hourly wage at $2.85.

    Team spokesman Jack Brennan responded, "The Ben-Gals cheerleading program has long been a program run by former cheerleaders and has enjoyed broad support in the community and by members of the squad." The team's attorneys filed documents in federal court which argued Brenneman "has been paid all wages allegedly due" under state and federal law.

    The case against the Raiders, which was filed in January, is tied up in court over a stipulation in the cheerleading contract that disputes be settled in arbitration, said attorney Sharon Vinick, who represents a former Raiders cheerleader named Lacy T.

    "This is our dream job, we work extremely hard to be on this team and to maintain our spot on this team," Lacy T., who is suing the Raiders, told CNN. The team declined to comment when the suit was filed and didn't respond to a new request for comment last week.

    The lawsuit against the Bills, filed by five former members of its cheerleading organization the "Jills," said "each individual Jill provides approximately 20 hours of unpaid labor per week ... This equals 840 hours of unpaid work per woman, per year."

    They claimed they were paid only a few hundred dollars for an entire season, which includes about eight regular season games, plus some preseason play.

    A spokesman for the Bills said the team was aware of the lawsuit but would not comment on it publicly.

    The central legal question in the disputes is if the cheerleaders were properly categorizedas independent contractors, who aren't subject to certain regulations like minimum wage, or should have been considered employees.

    Several experts said it's likely the cheerleaders weren't paid fairly.

    "If it had been my client, I never would have told them to make (the cheerleaders) independent contractors," said Deborah Kelly, a partner at Dickstein Shapiro a law firm that typically represents companies in employment disputes.

    "Cheerleaders are certainly employees," said Justin Swartz of Outten & Golden. "They're providing a benefit that directly entertains the fans, just like the players," Swartz, who typically represents people who sue their employers, said.

    Stewart Schwab, a dean and professor at Cornell, said the distinction between an employee and contractor is the amount of supervision and direction that the employer provides.

    "The more they're required to do and the more they're required to show up at particular times and work with others in a coordinated fashion and listen to a boss, the more they're sounding like employees," Schwab said. "I think there's quite a bit to that suit."

    Even if the cheerleaders should have been considered employees, there are are some narrow exceptions to the federal minimum wage, such as for seasonal employees and small businesses.
     
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