NFL totally caves to real refs, despite team owners’ pathological hatred of unions

It was just a few days ago that the zillionaires who own and run the National Football League were talking tough about the continued lockout of their unionized referees.

They said they were firmly against making any further compromises with the union (HERE). No, siree, they weren’t going to let any socialist organization tell them how to run their business.

Never mind that the league itself is a model of corporate socialism (HERE). No, the thing is, you can’t let the unionized hired help tell you how to run your business.

Well, as I’m fond of saying, that was then — and THIS is now:

The NFL referee lockout is over.

Looking at the details of the new agreement, it’s clear that the NFL compromised big-time in order to get a deal done in time for week four.

The league took a hard-line stance throughout this lockout, but in the end, they caved…

[O]n each of the three major sticking points — retirement benefits, salary, and hiring — the NFL made concessions.

On the large scale, these concessions will cost the league a few million dollars (roughtly $3.3 million) per year. That’s nothing compared to their overall revenue. But this lockout was never about serious financial issues, it was about principles.

The NFL went into the lockout thinking referees were commodities and part-time employees who shouldn’t be paid like highly skilled professionals.

Maybe they still hold that stance, but the Monday Night fiasco took away any leverage they had, and forced them to compromise to save the on-field product.




  1. Good for the officials.

    They clearly have a special skill set that is worth paying for and they proved it over the last 4 weeks.

  2. So doc, you are in favor of unions for people with “special skill set[s]. Now all we have to do is define special skill.

  3. No, we have to distinguish between public and private unions.

  4. So, are you saying that public employees do not have any special skill sets?

  5. Nope. I am saying that public employee unions are bad for the country.

    You can’t have public employees compelled to be members of a union, pay dues, have those dues go to elect politicians (who are essentially their bosses) and then have those politicians focused on serving those same employees to maintain their political power base.

    The NFL officials are members of a private union. They were willing to take the chance that their skill set was so special (and they are a small group) that the owners of the company would not be able to replace them and it would impact the quality of their product.

    Apparently the refs were correct and they were able to negotiate for much of what they wanted.

  6. When I become king of the world, use of the silly term “skill set” instead of “skills” will be punishable by imprisonment.

    Be warned!

  7. Jim Yeager

    “You can’t have public employees compelled to be members of a union, pay dues, have those dues go to elect politicians (who are essentially their bosses) and then have those politicians focused on serving those same employees to maintain their political power base.”

    Using that logic, expdoc, you must also believe that any company that operates in an industry even remotely subject to governmental regulation shouldn’t be allowed to donate to political campaigns. I don’t think that’s the case though.

    Judging by your other posts, I’m guessing that if public unions had a history of donating to Republican candidates, you would find no problem with their existence, let alone their right to participate in the political sphere. That’s not meant to be criticism. Everybody sees tthe issues through their own colored lenses (including me). I just think you’re not being fully forthright in your justification of arguing that public unions are bad for the country.

  8. I understand your point Jim, but I still disagree. In my opinion the public unions have abused their power, particularly the teacher’s unions. They had a lock on the power as well as a forced stream of money to maintain that power and abused it for years. Not to improve education, but to maintain their power.

    In Wisconsin alone there were many examples including teachers collectively bargaining for items like specific medication coverage (viagra) in their health plans, forced utilization by school districts of an insurance company owned by the teachers union and insisting on arrangements that protected bad teachers at the expense of the quality of education all resulting in ever rising expenditures on education.

  9. So, public employees should be at the mercy of politicians? How about this? We prevent all businesses, both private and public, from contributing to politicians and political campaigns. Let politicians accept donations only from individual citizens only. That will solve your problem with public employee unions.

  10. Sure thing Jerry, but the Supreme Court already blocked that idea.

    Besides, you are overlooking the obvious fact that in the case of corporations, they are donating to politicians but they don’t work for the politicians.

    In the case of public employees (who work for all of us) the politicians control policy and appropriations, and in effect, the politicians are their bosses.

    Bosses who receive political donations from the public employees so that they can get re-elected so that they can appease the unions so that they will keep giving them money so that they get re-elected……

  11. Must you people bicker? I don’t like dissension. It upsets me. (Heh, heh.)

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