Tag Archive: professional

What We Should Learn From the NFL Referee Lockout

promoted by Rosi

Over the past few years, Governor Christie and his counterparts in Wisconsin as well as other states along with their allies on the Democratic side of the aisle have created an environment where public employees have become the scapegoat for much larger and usually unrelated issues.

While it was popular over this time period to hear talk about how much the union members received in terms of pensions or overtime or whatever else, there was never really any talk about why these types of things (you know, basic health benefits, a reasonable wage increase and some help in retirement after putting in 10, 15, 20 years) shouldn’t also be available to EVERYONE.  The whole class warfare argument has been turned on its head where the coverage should have been less on how private sector workers were blaming public sector workers (or non-union workers blaming unions) as opposed to the basic underlying question of why someone should work the way they do under circumstances that could leave them high and dry at any given time, even though the fruits of their labor benefitted those who may not deserve it (see all of the insane packages that executives got for failing companies).

And the outrage was, in all honesty, misdirected during this time.  We have seen a massive push towards the corporatization and dumbing down of education over the last few years (starting with Bush’s NCLB) – especially here in NJ with Christie’s push for more private corporate funded voucher schools.  But even though having professional teachers teach our children is something that directly impacts every parent, that wasn’t the message we were being told.

So of course it took something that really impacted everyone – watching NFL games (snark seeping through) to show what so many people whose voices were drowned out by the propaganda machine and sheep mentality have been screaming for some time – it takes professionals to do the job that they are supposed to do.  Whether it is professional referees (who, by the way, routinely get calls wrong, just as everyone gets things wrong from time to time in their job) or professional teachers or professional policemen, firefighters or engineers – we need the right people to do the job that the profession calls for.

This post from the other day really nails it:

But the real scorn should come from the fact that the league replaced unionized workers with scabs and is jeopardizing the safety of its players to save pennies on the dollar. This is America, though, where we apparently don’t care about our fellow workers or the modern day gladiators who are ruining their lives one hit at a time, as long as the right team wins the football game.

But it also goes deeper than that.  Whether it is the NFL referee lockout, the fight against teachers or other public workers (here, in Wisconsin, in Chicago or wherever else) there is another common thread – the disdain for reasonable retirement benefits – the “defined benefit”.  And as I stated earlier, this should be something that everyone deserves, so the scorn shouldn’t be on those who still have it, but those who are denying it to their workers – union or not.   Even looking at the resolution of the NFL referee lockout, we find that:

The league made a major concession to keep funding a pension plan for the next five years before transitioning that benefit to become a 401K plan. There is even a slight increase in the pension benefits plan from 2012-16.

Interesting.  What is the big elephant in the room as it relates to NJ’s finances and credit rating?  The unfunded pension liabilities – something that after strongarming additional concessions on, Governor Christie is STILL blowing off.  With the “risk” (and I use risk instead of “widespread fraud”) in the stock market and the transition from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution”, this just puts more people’s retirement at risk while Governor Christie and his counterparts squeeze as much out of workers – the real producers – as they can before stealing the retirement funds invested in the stock market they rigged.

It’s too bad that (1) it took a blown call in a football game to highlight this and (2) most people won’t even connect the dots to see the bigger issue of fairness at the workplace.