Pennsylvania Players Can’t Call the “Right-to-Work” Play

Pennsylvania Players Can’t Call the “Right-to-Work” Play

As the National Football League moves closer toward the end of its lockout and the adoption of a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ association, the latter needs to decide whether to recertify as a union. The head of the union stated "Here in America, every time an employee makes that decision about whether he wants to be a part of a union, it’s something that is serious, significant and should be done in a very sober way".

Interestingly enough about one-third of the NFL’s teams are located in Right-to-Work states where workers are not compelled to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Don’t count the members of the Steelers or the Eagles among them as Pennsylvania has been unable to enact a Right-to-Work law. Since the players are part of the private sector headcount, they are a part of the trend in union membership that we documented in a Brief this past May. To wit: private sector union membership in Pennsylvania fell from 15.6% in 1990 to 9.3% last year. Yet the enormous power wielded by unions and their supporters in the Legislature trumps the broad interest of the citizenry to bring the issue to the floor of the General Assembly.

So yes, deciding to joining a union should be done in a serious and sober way. But that right is curtailed for Pennsylvanians. Wonder what the NFLPA would think about card check? And what a union it is. The members have guaranteed collective bargaining rights and have substantial protections from the teams and the league. At the same time the players negotiate individual contracts with the teams they play for rather than having wage scales set for the various positions that all teams must pay and all same position players receive with no premium pay for big stars. Would it not be interesting to require teachers and bus drivers to negotiate individual contracts?