Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UConn star goes to bed 'starving' because he can't afford food

Like other low-wage workers in America, UConn Huskies star Shabazz Napier sometimes goes to bed hungry at night because he can't afford food.

And yes, the UConn Huskies are low-wage workers, at least according to a recent ruling by an NLRB regional director.

Here's the good news. Connecticut lawmakers want to enact a law letting Napier and other athletes at public colleges to organize. CNN reports:
The remark got the attention of state lawmakers in Connecticut, who are now exploring legislative ways to allow athletes at UConn, a state institution, to unionize -- much like athletes are attempting at Northwestern University. 
Rep. Matthew Lesser said he and other state lawmakers are considering legislation. Unlike at Northwestern, a private institution governed by the National Labor Relations Board, Connecticut law governs whether employees at a public institution can unionize. 
"He says he's going to bed hungry at a time when millions of dollars are being made off of him. It's obscene," Lesser said. "This isn't a Connecticut problem. This is an NCAA problem, and I want to make sure we're putting pressure on them to treat athletes well."
The NLRB ruled college athletes at private institutions are employees because they meet four criteria under common law. The athletes are:

  1. performing work for another person or entity under
  2. a contract of hire who is
  3. under that entity’s control, in return for
  4. payment or other compensation.
Or as Napier said,
"I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there's hungry nights and I'm not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities. ... When you see your jersey getting sold -- it may not have your last name on it -- but when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return."
Oh, and congratulations, Huskies!