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Northwestern University college football players are attempting to organize themselves into a union and  are meeting much resistance. They’re attempting to be able to have ‘collective bargaining/negotiation rights’. The objective is to have college level football programs be responsible for the extended medical care costs of football injuries incurred while playing, since successful sports programs reap hugh earnings.

With the growth of big-time college football in America, which generates more than $5 billion in annual revenues, the pretence that the players are “student-athletes” is becoming increasingly untenable for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Recently, a group of football players  announced their application to the US government to form a labor union, affiliated with the United Steelworkers, to acquire collective bargaining rights as recognized university employees.

Currently, college athletes can be given tuition scholarships, free room and board, and treatment from sports physicians. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, who has led the charge, says the initial goals of the union would be to ensure that scholarships can’t be revoked for medical issues, compensation for the full cost of attending college, greater awareness and prevention of (brain) concussion injuries that plague the sport, and insurance coverage for treatment of sports-related injuries that linger long after a player has finished school. He also did not rule out having players receive salaries from their schools. To state the players are unpaid is misleading. Most of the Division 1 players are on athletic scholarships and receive many services having economic value.”

“The action of these few Northwestern players in signing the cards, asking for a labor union, will ripple through the world of college sports for weeks and cause waves of discussion and consideration,” writes ESPN’s Lester Munson. “Their action will be the prime topic of discussion whenever, and wherever, other players, coaches, athletic directors, and university presidents and board members gather. Things may never be the same.”

El Observador believes all ethnic communities need to support this ‘unionizing event’ which is a work in progress today.

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