Northwestern football votes on unionization

Wisconsin players would have a harder road


by David Ade

MADISON -- While Northwestern football players voted on forming a union Friday morning, students on the University of Wisconsin campus thought about what a Badger football union would look like.

“I'm hoping for a positive reception in Northwestern, and then I’d be happy if it came to Wisconsin." said Wisconsin senior Calvin Gehred-O’Connell.

Some students say a team union would be like a slap in the face to all other students on campus.

“They view that they might not be getting paid, but in truth they are with an investment. I pay the university to go here, I pay for room, I pay for my books and all of those things." said Wisconsin senior Nicholas Gillbank.

The road to these type of unions is not easy according to Milwaukee lawyer Tim Hawks who said,

"If you were an athlete who receives a scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, the question would be if you're an employee under state labor law."

Hawks says athletes would need to be considered employees before forming a union, and then a review could follow. He adds that Wisconsin collective bargaining restrictions under Act 10 would also play a major role.

"The only thing they could bargain about would be total base wages. Not hours, not fringe benefits, not insurance coverage like the Northwestern players would be allowed to bargain on." Hawks said.

Whether or not bargaining for their livelihood on and off the field will have an impact at other Big-10 schools, that remains to be seen.

"People are making so much money off these guys for all their hard work, and they deserve a slice of the pie." said Gehred-O’Connell.


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