Labor Board: players can form a union - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Labor Board: players can form a union

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A national labor board rules that football players at Northwestern University are employees of the school and can create a player’s union.

The push came from Northwestern University football players, including former quarterback Kain Coulter, who said athletes should get paid to pay, in order to protect their futures.

In documents from the National Labor Relations Board, Region 13, it said “that players receiving scholarships from the employers are ‘employees’.”

That means scholarship football players can join a player’s union, while walk-on players cannot.

Southeast Missouri State Football Coach Tom Matukewicz said the future of college football will be interesting.

"It's an amazing time in athletics, I never would have thought there was a consideration for that," said Matukewicz.

In the report from the labor board, it said between the years of 2003 and 2012, the Northwestern football team generated about $235 million dollars in revenue, while only using $159 million dollars of that in expenses, making a profit of $76 million dollars for the university.

The labor board said that means the employer benefited from services provided by the football team, making those players employees.

JJ Lane, the Business Agent for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, said in his situation, he thinks a union is helpful.

"The way we do it, is we do it through collective bargaining instead of one person going in on their own behalf you have one person, or a small group of people representing all of the employees," said Lane.

He said in most cases, unionized employees have better pay, benefits, and work place safety, which he said can help the community.

"You have more money to invest in the economy, to buy goods and services,” said Lane.

Back at practice at Southeast Missouri State, Coach Matukewicz said he’s just glad he gets to work with these players each day.

"It's interesting, one thing about me is I'm partial to the players, if we can do better by them, I'm all for it," said Matukewicz.

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