April 29, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Pittsburgh, Penn. – The United Steelworkers (USW) congratulated football players at Northwestern University for participating in the first National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sanctioned union representation election of its kind.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard said that players and organizers from the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) should be proud of the commitment and solidarity that brought unionization of college athletes to the attention of millions and created a national discussion about the need for players' voices to be heard.
"The NCAA and its member institutions have no doubt benefited from the work of generations of college athletes for over 100 years without consideration for the very real sacrifices they are expected to make," Gerard said. "With today's historic vote, these brave and dedicated football players have guaranteed that college athletes' voices will be heard louder and more clearly than ever."
On April 25th at a ceremony, Gerard said players should not lose their scholarships due to injury and that their medical expenses must be covered by insurance provided by either the schools or the NCAA.
"The NCAA will surely fight to retain the stranglehold of control it has enjoyed since 1906 over the industry that has enriched the organization and certain large institutions to the tune of billions of dollars in yearly revenue generated in ticket sales and television contracts," Gerard said, "but the message of today's vote – that athletes deserve a voice at the table when bureaucrats are making decisions that will change their lives – is undeniable."
"The game has forever changed," Gerard said, "and now the athletes will have a say in how the rules are rewritten."
**The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.