Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winners and Losers

They are back on the field tonight.
They have their pensions guaranteed. 
They have their salaries on an appropriate upward trajectory. 
They have the honor and adoration of America's teams and America's teams' fans.

Two arms up high for the refs...score!

I have chuckled for 48 hours over the hand-wringing and tears on behalf of these high-profile laborers who are represented by a unionOne questionable call on a football field Monday night, and an entire nation's outrage went viral. 

We get this one, don't we?  The NFL is a booming $9-billion a year business on a growth plan that projects almost triple that $9-billion annual income by 2027.  How on earth, we all wondered, could NFL owners put the game we love so very much in peril by nickel-and-diming the poor $180,000 (for 6 months of work) salaried referees? 

I ask you, where's the humanity

Was it evident a couple of weeks ago when Chicago's teachers were asking for fair compensation and reasonable expectations, and the city's mayor was threatening legal action against them?

Did you take to the streets in front of your local Apple store earlier this week to demand accountability and the whole truth about the plight of rioting workers in China who make your iPhone?


Have you urged your elected representatives on Capitol Hill to support passage of any version ever introduced of the Paycheck Fairness Act - legislation aimed at closing the gap between what women earn in the workplace in this country and what men earn? (Women in the US earn - on average - 77- cents for every dollar a man earns. True.) 

And what about that Nestle chocolate you pull off the pantry shelf and stir into cookie dough a couple of times a month? Does it bother you at all that 7-year old Ivory Coast children might be working 16-20 hour days to provide you with those chocolate chips?  When was the last time you demanded an update on that situation

The list of things gone wrong on behalf of workers in this country and around the world is long and overwhelming, I admit.  We have our own jobs to think about, our own struggles with unfair practices, our own tables to fill with daily bread.  Many of us fight these battles without organized labor unions to protect and promote our causes.  Who has time or energy to care?

But God help us if there's a bad call on the football field.  Everyone from the President to my 8-year old neighbor has had a passionate opinion about what needed to be done to get the refs back where they belong - calling games with a respected level of expertise.   

Do we really have to wonder why we look like soulless consumers and glassy-eyed entertainment junkies to so much of the world? 



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