The thing that made the National Football League treatment of its officials so outrageous was that it continued the idea that workers don’t matter. You can just swap in somebody who has no experience in what you’re doing and get the same results. As the NFL learned, experience matters. When we work, we gain knowledge of how things should be. That’s the beauty of having a job. We help to make rules and then we correct rules that need fixing. We know stuff and we need to be treated like we do.
It doesn’t matter that the referees are highly paid professionals. What they do makes it possible for the even better paid professionals around them to enjoy their livelihoods. The other thing about this is that we have noticed in recent years basketball players stuck together during their protracted negotiations with the National Basketball Association. The referees did the same. There were no interviews with the regular refs asking to go back and take whatever conditions the NFL offered. What does this say about the power of unions? You may have to sacrifice in the short term for a long term benefit.
I heard the same narrative in the Chicago teachers strike. And it was exciting to see that after the infamous Act 10 was struck down by a Wisconsin judge, a school district quickly negotiated a deal with its workers. Workers matter, pass the word.
- E.J. DIONNE: Replace this greed, NFL owners (tauntongazette.com)