North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Local Sports

April 5, 2014

Robert Carter: Look for the union fullback

COMMENTARY —

Those of us of a certain age will vividly remember a television spot back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, in which a chorus of factory workers sang a catchy little jingle with these lyrics:

“Look for the union label, when you are buying a coat, dress, or blouse...”

If you’re anywhere from age 40 onward, you’re probably singing along right now, even if you can’t remember the words past those I just gave you. 

It was a very memorable jingle made by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and represented a time when most women’s clothing was still made in America. That has not been the case for some time now, and the ILGWU went the way of the dodo bird. It merged with a handful of other unions to form something called UNITE HERE (it’s a really long compound acronym). The membership is maybe a fourth of what it was when those workers were singing. But I digress.

In my rather strange mind, I’m conjuring up an image of a bunch of football players trying to sing such a jingle of the same type. Here goes nothing:

“Look for the union fullback, when he is scoring a touchdown for you...”

I’ll stop there. It only gets worse.

I don’t think that the effort to allow college football players to form a union will result in some goofy video like that. But the fact that a National Labor Relations Board official in Chicago is paving the way for players to unionize is anything but cute. It could — as countless commentators have said breathlessly since the decision was handed down last week — potentially end the game of college football as we now know it.

But probably not. Hyperbole may generate a lot of page views for a website, but it does little to shed light on the topic.

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