As an alumnus (Communication ’89), football season ticket holder, educator and union member (University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100), I am greatly pleased by the recent NLRB decision in favor of the athlete-employees of our Wildcat football team.
The players clearly have the stronger argument. Basic fairness and a commitment to human dignity demand that they no longer be denied their right as Americans to unionize and bargain collectively.
I am very sorry that the current leadership at NU is planning to appeal the decision and continue to oppose the players. It is also disheartening to hear that Coach Fitzgerald is now encouraging the players to vote against unionization. Following this course will certainly put the administration on the wrong side of history. I believe that it will also ultimately prove to be a poor use of both university money and the talent of the individuals involved in this retrograde effort.
I sincerely hope President Schapiro, athletic director Phillips and Coach Fitzgerald embrace the NLRB decision and put Northwestern at the vanguard of this new movement in college athletics. To do less will be to group NU with institutions of lesser integrity and vision.
James Patrick O’Connor