USW Backing College Athletes' Bid to Unionize

The USW is supporting U.S. college football players in their fight for fairness. Football players at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, won an important victory when the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that players have the right to unionize.

The athletes' campaign for fairness is a high-profile case shining a positive light on the value of unions. Union activists everywhere are sharing in the college players' legal victory. The players see unionization as the path to securing fair treatment and a seat at the table.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard on the NLRB ruling:

“This ruling is a tremendous victory, not just for the athletes at Northwestern, but ultimately for all college athletes, many of whom generate tens of millions of dollars each year for their institutions, yet still are in constant danger of being out on the street with one accident or injury.

“The key issue at Northwestern is negotiating better protections against concussions and improving medical coverage following graduation.

“Our belief all along was simply that these athletes have a right to expect the same fair treatment that all Americans should expect, and that when they work hard and devote years of their lives in service to an institution, they deserve certain basic protections in return. None of them should live in fear of losing their scholarships in an instant, nor should they be left without health care after debilitating injuries.

“Our union has been proud to support these players from day one, and we couldn’t be happier with the result of this case. We were confident all along that this was the correct decision, and we believe it will withstand the anticipated appeals and challenges. Whatever the future holds, we will continue to stand with the Northwestern football players and with all members of the College Athletes Players Association through the end of this struggle.”

Northwestern University Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter has been leading the efforts to establish the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA). The USW International union is proud to support CAPA.

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