This has been one of the most challenging years for America’s workers in our nation’s history. The AFL-CIO, a democratic federation representing 12.5 million working people, is proud of all our affiliates for doing their part in keeping workers as safe as possible while also protecting our jobs. A shining example of this spirit was the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the union that represents NFL players.
When faced with unprecedented challenges to the health and economic well-being of its members, the NFLPA collectively bargained a long-term deal that secured significant increases for the union’s active and former players. The union fought for its core players, increasing minimum salaries by nearly 20%, as well as pension and benefit increases for former players across the board.
Using its long-term collective bargaining agreement as a springboard, the NFLPA took a non-negotiable approach to the health and safety of its membership when the global pandemic hit, leveraging its power to fight for a fully virtual offseason this past spring and summer; insisting on strong protocols for everyone in the league; and forcing NFL owners to bear the full cost for the daily testing of players for COVID-19. Only when those protocols were achieved did the union focus on economics and fight to protect the salaries of all NFL players, who were paid in full, on their way to completing the most improbable NFL season.
We applaud the efforts of the NFL Players Association, its Executive Committee, including President JC Tretter and Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, former President Eric Winston, and all of the player leadership and staff not only for their work on behalf of their members, but for their support for unions across the country.