PITTSBURGH, March 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that pro football players filed a representation election petition with Region 16 of the National Labor Relations Board representing all 475 pro athletes in the XFL. USW International President Thomas M. Conway said organizing and collectively bargaining for better wages, benefits, and working conditions is the surest path to achieving safety and stability in players’ lives and careers. “Whether in the factories or the football fields, every worker deserves to have a say on their workplaces and determine their future,” Conway said. “As a member of the USW, players will have a powerful champion in the fight for fair and safe work conditions throughout the league.
John Shinn, treasurer for USW International, representing unions on the AFL-CIO sports council, said soccer players, like all workers, deserve to be treated fairly at work, “Our union is committed to working with players to improve conditions and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect by the league,” said Shinn. “From our successful bargaining experience in the USFL, we know that players standing together in solidarity can win throughout the season improvements in contracts that truly increase their living standards.”
Ryan Cave, an executive at the United Soccer Players Association, said players are organizing to gain empowerment from a union contract. “All players across the league working together to create solidarity is the key to getting results,” Cave says, “We know athletes have the most to gain when we all speak out in a united voice demanding workplace justice and equity, which is what the XFL players will get when they form a union.”
For the 2023 season, an eight-team XFL would employ approximately 475 athletes, playing a ten-game regular-season schedule followed by a four-team playoff for the league title. The XFL title game will be played on May 13.
The United Steel Workers represents 850,000 workers employed in the manufacturing, metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, automotive supply, and energy production industries, as well as an increasing number in technology, government, and service occupations.