With the National Football League facing the most significant labor law overhaul in decades, players’ union officials say it would be unfair to the players if they are forced to pay more than the players’ share of the $3.5 billion a year in player-related salaries.
“Players have earned a great deal of respect and trust for their profession.
But in the past few years, players have been subjected to an unprecedented level of unfair labor practice and excessive litigation in which employers have been trying to impose their will on their union,” the players union’s executive director, Jeff Ireland, said in a statement.
“If a union is forced to increase wages, it should not be the players who are forced into the process.
The league has a fiduciary duty to ensure all players receive fair and equitable wages.
The NFLPA has the right to negotiate collectively bargained contracts for the best interests of players and the union.”
The players’ labor group is currently negotiating a tentative agreement with the NFL Players Association that includes the provision of a 1 percent wage increase for all NFL players, a 2 percent increase for players on the reserve/prospect list and a 3 percent increase in the minimum wage.
The union also wants to make the minimum salary of all NFL player workers a living wage, which it said would allow it to raise salaries.
The union has been pushing for a union wage hike for decades, but its negotiations with the league have been stalled by a combination of the league’s insistence that it is not required to raise its wages to the level of a living wages, the cost of litigation that is expensive to litigate, and the league demanding that the union negotiate a “fair share” of the cost.
Last week, the union’s president, Gene Upshaw, said the NFLPA is prepared to negotiate a wage increase of at least 1.5 percent for all players, as well as an increase of 2 percent for players who serve in the reserve or prospect lists, as long as the union negotiates a living-wage agreement with its players.
The new deal would see the league and the players agreeing to a wage hike of 2.5 to 3 percent annually for players with more than one season of service.
The minimum wage would increase to $11.75 per hour for NFL players and $12.15 per hour in the NFL players on reserve list and $13.50 per hour at the rookie minimum.
The new wage would also include $4.75 for every hour a player spends on the sideline.
The NFLPA declined to comment for this story.