Labor Unions The National Football League NFL  Essay


Labor Unions The National Football League (NFL) is a high profile sports organization that contributes to the large and growing sports business market and is one of the most recognized corporate brands in America. Every Sunday millions of people watch professional football presented by this organization. Commercial slots for these games provides incredible amounts of revenue as products such as jersey's, cable packages and season tickets contribute to this powerful organization. Integral to this corporation is the National Football Players Association (NFLPA) which is the labor union that supplies the league with players. The purpose of this essay is to examine the relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA to identify legal issues and obstacles that arise in their interaction in order to better understand the implications that unionized organizations promote in their business models.


Professional football is a very dangerous occupation and its players literally risk their lives and well-being in order to compete in the NFL to earn a living. The NFL has been in existence for almost 100 years and the NFLPA was incepted in 1956. In the past six decades, many labor wars were fought to achieve a balance of power between these two organizations. According to its mission statement the NFLPA; " Represents all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protects their rights as professional football players. Assures that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are met. Negotiates and monitors retirement and insurance benefits. Provides other member services and activities. Provides assistance to charitable and community organizations. Enhances and defends the image of players and their profession on and off the field."(n.p)

Importance of Unions

According to Johnston (2010) the union organization process is responsible for providing a fair and balanced system between labor and employees. They suggest that employees unionize for a number of reasons: Dissatisfaction with current wages and benefits. Dismay with treatment by management, particularly first line supervisors. A perception...


A perception that supervisors are not listening to them. A perception that they are powerless within their organizations. The National Labor Relations Act, enacted in 1935, provides the legal necessities of labor unions. This act was ratified to encourage collective bargaining, and to eliminate private sector's labor unfair practices that violate workers' civil rights.
Legal Obstacles

According to NFLPA Regulations Governing Contract Advisor "these regulations were adopted and amended pursuant to the authority and duty conferred upon the NFLPA as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of NFL players pursuant to Section 9(a)of the National Labor Relations Act, which provides in pertinent part: Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment." (p.1)

Federal, State, or Local Laws That Could Be Broken

The NFL must abide by the National Labor Relations Act. According to the National Labor Relations Board " Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy " (p.1.)

Benefits of Joining the Union

The players benefit from joining the union because it offers them contract protections, health insurance and guaranteed minimum salaries. The NFL benefits by having the top talent play in their league.

The Unionization Process

Coenen (2005) claimed that "The NFLPA began when two players from the Cleveland Browns, Abe Gibron and Dante Lavelli, approached a lawyer and former Notre Dame football player, Creighton Miller, to help form an association to advocate for the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Coenen, Craig R. (2005). From Sandlots to the Super Bowl: The National Football League, 1920-1967. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.

Johnston, S. (2010). Union Organization Process. Practical Law Company,2010. Retrieved from [HIDDEN] %29.pdf

NFL Player Association Constitution. Viewed on 12 Feb 2013. Retrieved from ution%20-%20March%202007.pdf (2008). History of the NFLPA. 15 April, 2008. Retrieved from
National Labor Relations Board. National Labor Relations Act. Viewed on 12 Feb 2013. Retrieved from
McCormick, R. (1996). Interference on Both Sides: The Case against the NFL-NFLPA Contract. Michigan State University College of Law Publications Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 397 (1996). Retrieved from; sei- redir=1& 3 DNFLPA%26btnG%3D%26as_sdt%3D1%252C14%26as_sdtp%3D#search=%22NFLP A%22

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