Less than a week after the Super Bowl, the NFLPA and American Rights at Work met Thursday morning to discuss the economic impact of a lockout on the local economies around the country. Joining them were Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, former player Brian Mitchell, John Marler of UNITE HERE Local 24 and The Nation Sports Editor David Zirin.
“Despite every NFL team being profitable, record television revenues and a Super Bowl that now ranks as the highest rated show on television, owners are demanding the players take pay cuts and work longer, said Kimberly Freeman Brown, Executive Director of American Rights at Work.
“An owner’s decision to lock out the players would affect over 150,000 workers including ushers, concession stand attendants, ground crews, security, waiters, waitresses, hotel staff and others. We can’t afford a lockout coming off the greatest recession since the Great Depression.”
Without a CBA in place, the outlook looks bleak for the players, stadium workers and others that rely on the game.
“There is uncertainty for everyone except the owners,” said Mitchell.
Carr added, “Most players just know football and just want to play football. We’re here today for the workers working in the concession stands, the bars and the restaurants. Those are the people it’s really going to affect.”
Marler, 27, is a Ford Field in-seat vendor and has worked at Joe Louis Arena since 2004, while also working at Comerica Park and Lions games. He joined the panel to share his experience working in Detroit.
“Detroit has been hit harder by the recession than any other major city in the country, Marler said. “The lockout would have a devastating effect on stadium workers and the local economy.”
Marler continued, “Working at Ford Field, most of my colleagues’ incomes is their only income, it makes their lives happen, and it allows them to provide for their families. Football and sporting events are some of the only things that bring people to downtown Detroit after 5pm.”
Marler concluded with a message to the players and owners:
“To the players-we’re with you. We work hard and you guys definitely work hard. What you do makes our jobs possible.”
“To the owners, please bargain in good faith, please don’t force a lockout. Consider what effect the lockout would have on working families, businesses already struggling to keep their doors open and local economies all throughout the country.”