Posted by: Taylor Hoff | January 11, 2011

WSJ – NFL vs Players Union May Result in no 2011 Season

…The highest-stakes action isn’t taking place on the gridiron. It’s out of sight, in boardrooms and over telephones, as Mr. Goodell and league owners are trying to get the players union to agree to a new collective-bargaining agreement. Negotiations have gone on for two years and if they’re not settled by March 3, the NFL will suffer a work stoppage. The roughly $9 billion-a-year enterprise, in other words, might take next season off.

It’s come to this, Mr. Goodell says, as we sit in his midtown Manhattan office, because the owners made the mistake of signing a bad collective-bargaining agreement in 2006. The deal, he says, raised players’ pay more than was healthy for the league, and left owners with insufficient cash to invest in their product. From 2006 to 2008—when owners decided to opt out of the deal, setting up this showdown—player costs outpaced revenue growth and owners’ cash flow declined by $200 million.

Mr. Goodell, for his part, says the league and the union can and will strike a deal. But he insists that owners were right to opt out of the collective-bargaining agreement, and that the threat of a work stoppage is real. “There are lots of businesses that are well in excess of $9 billion that have gone into bankruptcy, that have been mismanaged,” he warns. “And that has not served anyone very well.” So it’s to avoid the fate of, say, General Motors—though Mr. Goodell demurs when I raise the comparison—that the NFL might torpedo its own 2011 season.

At what point do unions become more than just rights and worker protection? I would argue that it’s when it causes the industry to collapse on itself. Some good examples would be: Airlines, Subways, Retail, Janitorial, and now… the NFL? The players union better figure out where the money comes from, right quick, or they’ll be the most hated union in US history. Idiots.


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