PITTSBURGH, June 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that players in the United States Football League (USFL) voted in favor of union representation in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. The USW, in coordination with the United Football Players Association (UFPA), filed a petition for a representation election on behalf of about 360 USFL players after a majority of them signed cards in early May.
USW International President Thomas M. Conway said that the union is proud to stand with players to ensure they are treated fairly by the league.
“Pay, hours and working conditions are areas where a union can make a difference,” Conway said. “Giving players a strong collective voice will ensure more security for individuals, their earnings and their jobs.”
UFPA President Kenneth Farrow, who played six seasons of professional football, said that the power of a union will make a huge impact for players who often face uncertainty due to injuries, poor facilities and bankrupt employers.
“Every worker deserves the opportunity to bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions as part of a union,” Farrow said. “Players can guarantee a stronger voice in determining their own futures by bargaining as part of a collective.”
UFPA Vice-President Nick Temple, who played seven seasons in multiple football leagues, said that players are standing together and forming a union to address and improve working conditions.
“Like all workers, professional athletes deserve to be treated with dignity and respect on the job by their employers,” Temple said. “The USW has empowered generations of workers to fight for fairness, so we are prepared to bring the top concerns of the players to the table.”
Founded in 2020, the UFPA is composed of football players with experience in the National Football League, Arena League of American Football, XFL, Canadian Football League and others.
Formally affiliated earlier this year, the USW and UFPA are fighting together for better treatment for professional athletes in the USFL, as well as the XFL and other potential leagues who are not covered by contracts like those in the NFL Players’ Association.
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in manufacturing, metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in tech, public sector and service occupations.