5 Dec

As we all know, for much of the country, sports play an integral role in peoples’ day-to-day lives. Football season effectively means that weekends become two-day gridiron bonanzas, baseball season consumes much of the nation’s summers, and hockey and basketball season keep us entertained throughout the long, cold winter. But beyond that, there’s an enormous economic impact, particularly for areas where there are professional sports teams or powerhouse college squads. And athletes know it.

Players of all four major professional sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — are all members of unions. They can and do collectively bargain the terms under which they participate in their sport and, as we have seen recently in the NFL and, more recently, the NBA, they flex their bargaining muscles with a great deal of authority.

But, many argue, their players’ associations — unions — fly in the face of what unions were established to do in the first place: Protect workers against inhumane working conditions and provide for a respectable amount of financial compensation for the work they do. Athletes, they argue, are not working in mines or in factories; they are playing a game they love to play and get millions of dollars to do so.

So here’s the question: Should professional athletes be allowed to unionize? Why or why not?

Post your response to this week’s QOTW by the time class starts on Friday, Dec. 9.


8 Responses to “QUESTION OF THE WEEK – WEEK 14”

  1. Chad Koenig December 8, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    I don’t think that professional athletes should be allowed to unionize. It was relevant back in the days when athletes were paid substantially less than they are now (years ago, a lot of athletes had jobs in the off-season). I believe that modern athletes have become ridiculous in their demands. They make millions of dollars for playing a game and they sideline an entire season, arguing about revenue sharing and salary cap structuring. I don’t know everything about the issues but i feel that the players are mostly to blame for any lockout. Sports mean a lot to people. They provide entertainment for millions of people. When players and owners can’t agree it is the fans that pay the price. It doesn’t help the people that depend on these sporting events for jobs also. People that work for the pistons are probably laid off at the moment, hoping that the union will reach an agreement. Unions seem to do more harm than good.

  2. briana lack December 8, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    I dont think that professionaly athletes should be able to unionize. This is their job, they chose this proffesion. They are getting paid much more then the average person. So i dont see why they are complaining about. We look up to these athletes. We cheer them on, and support them, we become fans of them and they they need to act childish. Its like they are doing this more for the funny then for the actuall essients of it. If they dont like they way things are running then get out. Im not one hundred percent sure who is to mostly blame for this. but its ridicous. By doing this its not only making them look selfish and greedy but its loosing fans. We dont want to watch a sport with a bunch of babies. The NHL had a lockout a few years ago and they didnt just hurt themselves but they had to regain a bunch of new fans because they let us all down.

  3. Ryan Tavarez December 9, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    With much respect to the players, they do work hard. Some athletes train seven days a week. It’s their life. Even in the off season they are practicing and honing their abilities(not all, but most.) However, I believe that unions in professional sports are not necessary. Unions were formed to protect workers and ensure fairness between management and the workforce. While I believe there needs to be some sort of buffer between the players and the directors of the leagues, there is no need for union. This is a rare case in which the “workers” or athletes have more power than the management. There must a balance. Sometimes a union is necessary in order to maintain that equilibrium, but in this instance there is no need, the union or associations dishevel the playing field in this circumstance.

  4. Sean Williams December 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Unions, like many institutions and practices in the world, are a double edged sword. When used efficiently for their intended purpose, Unions protect workers from being forced to endure unsafe or unfair labor conditions. Without Unions, workers would be at the mercy of ruthless standards and unchecked pay cuts and conditions. Unions ensure that the workers are represented in the affairs of the organization they are a part of. Unions are meant to provide protection to workers in a company or industry, while still being a productive force within the system. However, Unions are often abused or are abusive in regards to the individuals or companies that they serve. Unions that become too powerful take their influence for granted and begin to make business very difficult for the company they negotiate with. Instead of working with the company, they begin to work against the company. Without going into the politics of unions, athletes have the right to unionize like everyone else, otherwise they might be forced to work for much less pay or worker’s rights. At the same time however, the union’s power should be checked to ensure that the union doesn’t bully in their negotiations to make already rich players significantly richer just because they can. Unions are supposed to protect against unfair treatment, not force the employer to give them high special treatment.

  5. Matt Knedgen December 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Athletes should not be allowed to have unions in my opinion. If unions were made to help workers get the right amount of pay and have them work humane jobs, it makes no sense for athletes to have them. They get way over paid as it is, and they get to do something the love for a living. Also, if they get way over paid, then they might just be doing it for the money, which is wrong in my opinion. So if they got paid less due to unions, that would be perfectly fine with me. But since they have the right to have unions, there isn’t really anything you can do to stop them. There should just be some moderation between the unions and the teams the athletes play on. Lets face it, 50 million dollars isn’t that much of a difference from 20 million dollars, its still a lot either way.

  6. Derek Delap December 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I don’t think that professional athletes should be given the ability to unionize. What harsh “work” conditions do they encounter? Trade and Labor Unions are created to achieve common goals among its laborers, such as better working conditions, work place safety, wages, and to mantain employment. Athletes for the majority are all over paid and have no room to complain about wages. Their work place is typically within a stadium of a sort and have again: no room for complaining about their safety. Contact sports such as hockey and football may have its safety issues however, the athletes that participate in these particular sports should understand the risks and dangers of the sport. And when it comes to maintaining employment, athletes can only play a sport for so long until they phyically break down. Agian however the money earned during their careers should be more then enough to support a luxirous life-style for the rest of their lives. All in all athletes have no room to complain.

  7. Norm Vernier December 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Yes,professional athletes should unionize. Unions help in bring about improvements for players. They have generally served players well by helping them avoid being exploited by owners.
    The benefits of a union revolve around guaranteed wages for work. Traditional unions depend upon thei ability to organize players and get them to perceive that a common good can be achieved by negotiating wages and working conditions together. A common good gets distributed across all union members. The gain is greater for all players over the long run than if players negotiated indivdually for their contracts. This is the key; if unions stay together, the long term benefits are huge.
    Owners actually gain on immense legal advantage from having unions to negotiate. This enable owners to get things like salary caps.
    The owners need and accept but hate the unions.

  8. Mark Ryan Beyer December 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    This is hard for me to go one way or another on this particular topic. This is because there are two sides and depending on which side I’m on I would want the best outcome for my personal preference. Just being an outsider a (fan) I really don’t think that I can give a fair opinion because it really does not effect me. Although these lock outs can be rather annoying there is a great deal of money involved here. I can understand why both sides can not agree right away because this is a business deal. Just like when law firms look for a settlement in a lawsuit both sides have to reach an agreement so they can settle the issue at hand. I think that fans get upset because they start losing their love for the sport when these lockouts happen. They should remember though that these players have rights also and they should. I look at it like it is what it is, however I’m still going to deal with it because I love to watch sports and I refuse to let it spoil my favorite pass time….

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