The National Labor Relations Board ruled March 26, 2014 “…that Northwestern University scholarship football players are employees of the school and eligible to form…” a union. (Belkin, Trottman, Bachman, Kesling, Cohen, Wall Street Journal 3/27/2014) As this plays out, most schools and all sports will likely be included.
Of course, students should be compensated for the work they do on behalf of enriching schools, but to broach the conversation through the steelworkers union?
A better idea would be to drop school sports other than intra mural or unofficial games. The higher education shift away from academics, in favor of sports, is visual. A simple walk around the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) campus tells the story.
The UNL football stadium seats over 87,000, yet few Americans are seen in UNL science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) graduate classes or labs. STEM graduate classes and labs are populated with foreign students. Football players are American.
The United States K-12 education system fails to prepare students for higher-level academic achievement. In 2013, just 37% of Nebraska fourth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in reading. (National Assessment of Educational Progress 2013) We have examined in previous columns union control of K-12 education.
Results from the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) revealed “Overall, the United States adult population performed below the international average in all three PIAAC subject areas (literacy, numeracy and problem-solving in technology-rich environments.)" In addition, “The United States had a higher percentage of low performers than the international average in all subject areas.” (National Center for Education Statistics, 10/18/13)
Though a right-to-work state, the union controls the liberty of Nebraskans. The union has established itself as the operating system running government programs. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Division includes: Long term care, Hospital systems and Nurse alliance. The SEIU Public Services Division includes: State/local, Mental health, Disabilities, Education and Child care/Head start. (SEIU.org) In other words, your life.
Regardless which party holds the majority (This month, the SEIU was a sponsor of the California Republican Party convention), union leaders work behind the scenes to control union interests: expansion and funding. In the current administration, government (union) overreach has hit like a ball bat. Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) levied $132,000 in fines against a small Nebraska farm not subject to OSHA oversight. OSHA now allows third-party agents (unions) on inspections at non-union businesses following a rule change last year. (Melchior, National Review 3/24/14)
The union recruits its own candidates and tightens the choke chain through the candidate questionnaire. “You’re either with us or against us. Period.” (John Diaz, San Francisco Chronicle 3/9/14)
Pay the football players for their work, but leave the union on the sidelines in the penalty box.
Comrades, an update: I have learned why people don’t speak up and expose causes of reading and student learning failures; the union is international, has unlimited funds from guaranteed sources (fines, fees, dues and taxes) and enjoys wide access to unlimited personnel as enforcers.