Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement is an Omen for the Rest of Economy....

From the outside the NFL’s current CBA negotiations which seem headed toward a lockout on March 4th, 2011 seems to be an argument between billionaire owners and millionaire players, but it’s far more than that.

These negotiations offer a window into the “new economy,” and the consolidating of power among the haves and downsizing of wages for workers across the board – from the highest to the lowest end of the spectrum.

The owners have decided that despite the fact that the NFL has only seen revenues increase over the “Great Recession,” the owners need a greater piece of the pie, to “keep the players in their place.”

But this is NOT merely about “Union-busting owners versus greedy, over-paid players,” far from it. What it’s about is the consolidation of power by the “owner class,” and the shrinkage of what they almost universally see as “excesses,” that is “excessive compensation,” paid to workers that’s seen as unsustainable going forward.

The primary dispute centers around the amount of money that the owners want to take as “credit” from the revenue pool. In the previous agreement, the owners took $1 billion (“off the top”) from the pool of approximately $9 billion, but now the owners are looking to increase that to $2.4 billion, claiming “the economic realities of the era” require that shift.

This would effectively cut the players' share of the revenue by 18 percent, and that doesn’t sit well with the players.

And even though many players DO understand how the increased funding of the owners might well lead to an increased annual revenue thanks to new and improved stadiums, there are no assurances of that AND the owners have refused to open their books to the players.

Beyond that is concern, on the part of the owners, that some player behavior is and has been counter-productive to growing the sport, already America’s #1 Revenue-producing sport.

The owners argue that today’s players are being paid like they’re CEOs and executives at major corporations. CEOs don’t moonlight as reality TV stars. High-profile executives get canned for sexual harassment and multiple accusations of sexual assault. Good executives work year-round.

As Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports notes, “They don’t want to share half of their revenue with people they don’t believe have the necessary character to collectively act in a way that allows them to economically grow the game at a rapid pace. If the players want half the revenue, the owners want to believe the players have a sincere interest in being equal partners in the growth of the game.”

While the players would want some form of self-policing, the owners see an 8 percent to 10 percent shared-revenue cut for players across the board as better insurance than trying to predict who might be the next Brett Favre, Albert Haynesworth, Ben Roethlisberger or Chad Ochocinco.

In fact, there are only a couple of things both sides can agree on, better benefits for retirees and a rookie pay scale so that proven players can get better salaries in their middling years when they are in their prime and their bodies haven't worn down yet.
Ironically enough, and in the spirit of our all being “our own worst enemies” is that Carolina Panthers Owner, Jerry Richardson (the ONLY former player among the NFL owners) is the biggest hawk among the owners.

Richardson is adamant about the owners taking this opportunity to press the players and take control of their league. And just as the vast majority of fans are on the side of the owners, the voters have rewarded the biggest cutters (Governors like Chris Christie, R-NJ and Andrew Cuomo, D-NY) with huge approval numbers.

Which is why that very same dynamic is now in play in the public sector  - the private sector long ago commenced with its own blood-letting. Today, major cities are laying off teachers, cops, firefighters wholesale and looking to scuttle the defined benefits pensions for future and even existing public employees.

Corporations and Municipalities are divesting themselves of healthcare costs and as much of their “future costs” (worker’s defined benefits pensions) as they can) in order to become more streamlined and competitive in the existing global economy.

As painful as this downsizing is, it’s also inevitable.

Bet on the NFL owners...and the public sector managers.


WomanHonorThyself said...

hey there JMK..didn't hear about this yet...hope alls well..great to see u still alive and kicking my friend~!

JMK said...

Hey Angel!

I've been running around a lot lately, but trying to get back into this.

American Ideas Click Here!