College athletes take labor cause to Capitol Hill - New York News

College athletes take labor cause to Capitol Hill

Posted: Updated:

By TOM RAUM and KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Northwestern University athletes trying to unionize presented their case to lawmakers Wednesday after a federal agency said they have the same rights to bargain collectively as other workers.
 
   "Health and safety of athletes is the concern, especially to reduce the risk of brain trauma," said Ramogi Huma, president of the National Colleges Players Association, an advocacy group.
 
   Added former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, co-founder of the association: "We're up here raising awareness."
 
   Even though the issue is not directly before lawmakers, "Congress is an important part of the chess board," Colter said after meeting with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
 
   Brown said "the right to fair treatment is why all workers, no matter the job or venue, should have the opportunity to unionize."
 
   "College athletes dedicate the same hours to their support as full-time employees and deserve the same protections as any other worker," Brown said in a statement.
 
   Colter, Huma and Tim Waters, national policy director of the United Steelworkers union, were trying to drum up support during their time on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and Thursday.
 
   The Steelworkers are underwriting and financing the effort.
 
   "We're up here to let the leadership know what's going on, basically getting information out," Huma said.
 
   The visits came a week after the Chicago-region director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern's football players on scholarships are employees of the university under the National Labor Relations Act and therefore have the right to vote to unionize.
 
   Northwestern, based in Evanston, Ill., has said it will appeal the ruling. It has until April 9 to do so. The full NLRB has yet to weigh in on the finding.
 
   Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said in a statement that Huma's concern was "unwarranted." A Northwestern official has said that the students were not employees and that unionization and collective bargaining were not the appropriate methods to address their concerns.
 
   "The law is fairly clear and consistent with Northwestern's position, so the NCAA has made no contacts with anyone in Congress attempting to ban the unionization of student-athletes," Osburn said.
 
   Colter, however, called the decision a "strong ruling" and predicted it "will be hard to overturn."
 
   The NLRB does not have jurisdiction over public universities, so the push to unionize athletes has been primarily targeted toward private schools such as Northwestern.
 
   ------
 
   Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
 
   ------
 
   Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khefling and Tom Raum at http://twitter.com/tomraum

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow Us!

Share Your Sports Photos & Video

Submit Your Sports Photos
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:52:57 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Runners of 3,100-mile race in Queens seek spiritual experience

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:26:44 GMT
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
    Since mid-June, 14 runners have been on a mission that is spiritual at its core. They are running the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens. Spiritual leader and former Queens resident Sri Chimnoy, who died in 2007, created the race, which lasts 52 days.
  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices