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Work Stoppage in ECHL?

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  • mtlhockey@aol.com
    http://charleston.net/stories/060103/spo_01_echl.shtml [Non-text portions of this message
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
    • Devon Ellington
      Interesting piece. I agree that the proposal is a slap in the face to the players. They re not making a living wage as it is. I hope there isn t a work
      Message 2 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
        Interesting piece. I agree that the proposal is a slap in the face to the players. They're not making a living wage as it is.

        I hope there isn't a work stoppage -- having just survived the musicians' strike on Broadway, I now know first-hand what that's like. But there's a time when you've got to take a stand, and I hope the players do.

        mtlhockey@... wrote:
        <A HREF="http://charleston.net/stories/060103/spo_01_echl.shtml">http://charleston.net/stories/060103/spo_01_echl.shtml</A>



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      • William Underwood
        I doubt that there will be a stand! One, these guys can t afford to miss a paycheck. How many want to pump gas in the fall? There are no more hockey clinics to
        Message 3 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
          I doubt that there will be a stand!

          One, these guys can't afford to miss a paycheck. How many want to pump
          gas in the fall? There are no more hockey clinics to run. If they want a
          paycheck, unless there is a wife and she has a GOOD job, it's off to
          find some crappy part time job...and bear in mind it could become a full
          time one in SHORT order! Teams can decide not to have some guys
          back...guys get sent down, roster slots are taken and a lot of guys have
          had no chance to show any worth...

          Two, if you are an owner right now and there is even talk of a strike,
          you just call the vets and start talking about who has to get cut to
          make the vet limit...with the market as tight as it already is for
          veteran players, getting a job may not be so simple.

          Three, speaking of vets, you could just play scabs...how many good vets
          are out of work that are desperate to play out there? With virtually
          EVERY minor pro league having a vet rule, there is no shortage of guys
          who get caught in a lurch. And with the Euro market for jobs being down,
          especially for guys at this level. Keep in mind the upheaval in
          England...And how many rooks just plain old want to play? You can find
          college guys that would pay to play! They are less than likely to want
          to take a stand here and many would cross the line. If they went on
          strike there are a lot of guys out there that are just as good and many
          might find their job gone in the aftermath...thus the owners would be
          able to make a statement, not the players in the end..."take what we
          offer you or find a job outside of hockey or go to a non unionized
          league..."

          Four, back to those vets...it will be an EASY decision at cut time this
          year! You cut your biggest locker room lawyers and anybody slightly
          smelling of being a player rep! It is so simple with vet limits..."sorry
          we want to go in a new direction, good luck finding a job in a non
          unionized league..."

          Five, aside from divide and conquer and general poverty, there will be
          those players that will want to play that still have the dream...a lock
          out/strike would be disastrous for that guy that wants to go the AHL!

          Six, the clock is ticking on a lot of guys. They simply can't afford to
          get the tag of "bad act...locker room lawyer". Again, there is a job
          crunch for vets.

          Now I never rule out anything...there is a lot of stupidity in the world
          today but a strike at the AA level would just about take the cake! It
          would come more under the file of "assisted group career suicide..." If
          teams fold, jobs are lost, when (not if) the owners seek revenge, a lot
          of vets will be left out in the cold.

          Are the owners taking as much as they can get? Sure. But at this level
          it's just the way things are, players have no real leverage. The level
          was designed to be an "owner's level". And do the players lose out in
          the end? If it wasn't an owner's level, there probably would be no AA
          hockey or at least a lot less of it. And where would the players be
          then?

          Do they have some decent gripes. Sure. And some will be addressed. This
          is early and there is a bit of posturing going on. In the end, there
          will be a compromise. A strike would be a BAD move for everybody but in
          the end the players would lose the most. The strike would break with
          little gained and jobs lost. It is like bluffing against a guy holding 4
          aces and a wild card, the players know that...at least we hope.



          -----Original Message-----
          From: Devon Ellington [mailto:devonellington@...]
          Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 3:09 PM
          To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [hockhist] Work Stoppage in ECHL?

          Interesting piece. I agree that the proposal is a slap in the face to
          the players. They're not making a living wage as it is.

          I hope there isn't a work stoppage -- having just survived the
          musicians' strike on Broadway, I now know first-hand what that's like.
          But there's a time when you've got to take a stand, and I hope the
          players do.

          mtlhockey@... wrote:
          <A
          HREF="http://charleston.net/stories/060103/spo_01_echl.shtml">http://cha
          rleston.net/stories/060103/spo_01_echl.shtml</A>



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        • mtlhockey@aol.com
          So Bill, Do you think the ECHL can or would break the union or will the Union just give them anything they want. I agree with all your points and wonder just
          Message 4 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
            So Bill,

            Do you think the ECHL can or would break the union or will the Union just
            give them anything they want.

            I agree with all your points and wonder just how far the owners would go with
            the union.

            Brian


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • William Underwood
            Well since the PHPA goes beyond them they couldn t really break it par se. but they could issue it a solid defeat and make the point moot. They would go pretty
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
              Well since the PHPA goes beyond them they couldn't really break it par
              se. but they could issue it a solid defeat and make the point moot. They
              would go pretty far I think. They won't knuckle under that's for sure
              and will at least get a good part of their agenda.

              It's kind of funny, I was just talking to an ECHL player tonight and he
              was asking me about what I have heard about things. But when I said the
              word strike we both just laughed...I doubt that you would ever see guys
              go for it. I think that the union knows that too.

              The owners don't lose often at this level on these things. In reality
              the union has limited power. The players have more power in having a
              choice of leagues to play in than by being in the union. The only thing
              that the union gives them is a place to issue grievances on issues like
              moving money etc. In the end, like I said before, the owners have all of
              the cards and can go as far as they want. Everyone knows that. So I
              doubt that it would be pushed beyond enough to satisfy decorum. If push
              comes to shove, the owners win. The PHPA would survive but look even
              more impotent in the end.

              -----Original Message-----
              From: mtlhockey@... [mailto:mtlhockey@...]
              Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 7:18 PM
              To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [hockhist] Work Stoppage in ECHL?

              So Bill,

              Do you think the ECHL can or would break the union or will the Union
              just
              give them anything they want.

              I agree with all your points and wonder just how far the owners would go
              with
              the union.

              Brian


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            • Hans Hornstein
              ... This actually brings up something that works even more in the owners favors -- I doubt it would be a strike -- it would be a lockout. But no one appears
              Message 6 of 14 , Jun 1, 2003
                At 08:52 PM 6/1/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                >But when I said the word strike we both just laughed...I doubt that you
                >would ever see guys go for it. I think that the union knows that too.

                This actually brings up something that works even more in the owners'
                favors -- I doubt it would be a strike -- it would be a lockout. But no
                one appears to know the difference, and the players would get all the
                blame, if they don't knuckle under to all the owners' demands.


                --
                Hans Hornstein (lennier@...)
                Dona Nobis Pacem
              • William Underwood
                You are right many people don t know the difference. But I doubt that the owners will do that either. The entire idea of this level is to make money. I can t
                Message 7 of 14 , Jun 2, 2003
                  You are right many people don't know the difference. But I doubt that
                  the owners will do that either. The entire idea of this level is to make
                  money. I can't see these guys doing anything they would compromise that
                  even for a day. Especially given that some teams are in fragile
                  condition. The issues can be attained without anything like that. Again,
                  the owners know that they have all of the cards. They will bluff but
                  they won't discard an ace, a lock out would be like doing that in the
                  end. I have real doubts that this will happen either.

                  It all is pretty simple, the players won't walk, the owners know that
                  and the players do. So in the end, de facto, the owners will get what
                  they want by just waiting them out. If there is even the slightest worry
                  of a stoppage, they know who is most likely to blink.

                  Again, as with a strike, a lock out would be silliness at this level.
                  The amount of money/prestige/support that could be lost by it could well
                  outdo any gains from it. Mind you anything can happen but I have real
                  doubts that it will ever come to that. The longer we go into the summer
                  the more worried the players get, the closer to panic. Soon you start to
                  have the opening to divide and conquer...

                  The guys realize that they lack the bargaining power of big leaguers.
                  They don't have the bank accounts to sit on, they play I cities that are
                  used to major turn over so stars have less drawing power, and that the
                  clock is running on their career between veteran limits, salary caps,
                  and just father time (even a lot of rookies are 24 year old college
                  guys) so the owners will see the union having more pressure exerted on
                  it by it's members on it than the owners.

                  So it all comes back to who will blink...there are no war chests at this
                  level unlike the NHL. So neither side wants to dig in, nor are the
                  issues that huge. And in this case, there is one side that is in a
                  decidedly weaker position. Will you vote for a lock out over issues that
                  are unlikely to have enough impact to save say a Johnstown or Atlantic
                  City where a strike might kill the team? Granted these two are all but
                  on death row anyway...but what of the teams like wheeling who cold go
                  either way? They know that the players would report so they can go on
                  and either weaken the union by forcing a strike vote that they probably
                  will not get or weaken it even more by having guys cross the line. So
                  why lose any dates and cost themselves a ton of money and good will? The
                  players would probably knuckle under to
                  An interim agreement which as much as says that the union is a paper
                  tiger and that they will have their way completely in the end.

                  So again, I doubt that we will see one. We could but it also makes
                  little sense. The owners can get the same effect without one either via
                  scabs and rookies (who wouldn't be all that bad and many of whom will
                  end up in the league without a strike there are so many vets out there)
                  or break the union's hold by letting the issue fester and guys start to
                  panic.



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Hans Hornstein [mailto:lennier@...]
                  Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 11:55 PM
                  To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [hockhist] Work Stoppage in ECHL?

                  At 08:52 PM 6/1/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                  >But when I said the word strike we both just laughed...I doubt that you

                  >would ever see guys go for it. I think that the union knows that too.

                  This actually brings up something that works even more in the owners'
                  favors -- I doubt it would be a strike -- it would be a lockout. But no

                  one appears to know the difference, and the players would get all the
                  blame, if they don't knuckle under to all the owners' demands.


                  --
                  Hans Hornstein (lennier@...)
                  Dona Nobis Pacem




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                • Devon Ellington
                  There has to be posturing going on, it s part of the game. To digress slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The musicians were
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jun 2, 2003
                    There has to be posturing going on, it's part of the game. To digress slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The musicians were fortunate that ALL of us on Broadway believed in what they fought for enough so ALL of us were willing to go out. As miserable as it was (and continues to be), I wish they hadn't capitulated quite so quickly, although all our unions were encouraging negotiations -- none of us could afford to miss a paycheck, either. Let's face it, in ten years, people will be paying $100 bucks for karioke. That's sad, even though many of us will be out of the business by then.

                    When you look at the owners' proposal as put forth in the article, it's insulting. Yes, the ECHL is an early step in many of these guys' careers. But they should still be able to make a living. If the owners made their money in any other unionized business in order to purchase the hockey team, you better believe that those unions would not tolerate such low salaries.

                    As far as strike/lock-out: there's a huge difference, and it's important for people to understand what it is. In our case, the Musicians went on strike. Actors' Equity and Local One went out on strike as well, in suport (sympathy strike). The other IA unions (mine included) refused to cross picket lines. The producers then locked us out -- literally. The locksmith came from show to show and changed the locks on the door. (The doorman at our show was nice enough to feed the actors' fish). We still had to show up at the stage door at our usual call time and sign in, proving that we were there ready to work, even though there was no show. Splitting these hairs and using the correct wording became important for the arbitration hearings to get back the lost wages.

                    I certainly learned a lot, and I certainly was unprepared for both the psychological effects and the misrepresentation in the media. Neither a strike or a lock out is a pleasant experience for anyone involved.

                    But I do believe that these players have a right to a living wage, and have a right to insurance coverage for their families.

                    Devon



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                  • William Underwood
                    ... slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The musicians were fortunate that ALL of us on Broadway believed in what they fought
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jun 2, 2003
                      >There has to be posturing going on, it's part of the game. To digress
                      slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The
                      musicians were fortunate that ALL of us on Broadway believed in what
                      they fought for enough so ALL of us were willing to go out. As
                      miserable as it was (and continues to be), I wish they hadn't
                      capitulated quite so quickly, although all our unions were encouraging
                      negotiations -- none of us could afford to miss a paycheck, either.
                      Let's face it, in ten years, people will be paying $100 bucks for
                      karioke. That's sad, even though many of us will >be out of the
                      business by then.

                      There is always posturing and the owners have set forth proposals that
                      are almost rigged to divide down the line.

                      >When you look at the owners' proposal as put forth in the article, it's
                      insulting. Yes, the ECHL is an early step in many of these guys'
                      careers. But they should still be able to make a living. If the owners
                      made their money in any other unionized business in order to purchase
                      the hockey team, >you better believe that those unions would not
                      tolerate such low salaries.

                      First of all, the players have actually never had it better at this
                      level. You should have seen it when I was working in the league in it's
                      first few years! We had guys making under 300 a week and no compulsion
                      for us to pay for apartments. NOBODY plays at this level expecting much
                      money! IF they last at it they will move up, retire or become enough of
                      an AA commodity that they will find some sucker to ante up 1200 a week
                      for them either legally or by cheating the cap. "Low salaries"...take a
                      look at ACHL salaries or what was paid 10 years back and then we can
                      start talking about low...

                      Secondly, they actually have some benefits non unionized leagues don't
                      have.

                      Thirdly, there are other leagues that players can sign in at the AA
                      level. Hence players are in no way prisoner to the coast.

                      Finally, this is not like another business. This is hockey! These guys
                      are not like labor that is only really able to pursue one job and will
                      odds on stay at it for life! First of all most of these guys could make
                      a better living doing something else. I know Ivy League grads that sign
                      for 400 a week when they could probably be making that in a little over
                      a day if they used their degrees. Once more, most "careers" at this
                      level are over in well under 5 years, that is before a 27th birthday for
                      many. So to compare this to any other unionized trade is not so
                      accurate! Saying that a kid who CHOOSES to play hockey and pursue a
                      dream that is a long shot if they are at this level, and do so for a few
                      years until he grows up a bit is the same as a person involved in a
                      career that will put bread on their table for 30-40 years and that they
                      may well have few other things that they are qualified to do is simply
                      not all that true. Once more it is a career that will HAVE to be
                      supplanted for even the best while they are still in the prime of life.
                      Therefore there really is no comparison. The owners know this.

                      And as for the owners themselves, many have not really made their cash
                      dealing with unions. This level is one where moderately wealthy people
                      are more likely owners than fortune 500 types! You have your sports
                      entrepeneurs like the Richard Adamses of the world, your successful
                      accountants, doctors and lawyers forming groups. You don't have all that
                      many moguls...

                      >As far as strike/lock-out: there's a huge difference, and it's
                      important for people to understand what it is. In our case, the
                      Musicians went on strike. Actors' Equity and Local One went out on
                      strike as well, in suport (sympathy strike). The other IA unions (mine
                      included) refused to cross picket lines. The producers then locked us
                      out -- literally. The locksmith came from show to show and changed the
                      locks on the door. (The doorman at our show was nice enough to feed the
                      actors' fish). We still had to show up at the stage door at our usual
                      call time and sign in, proving that we were there ready to work, even
                      though there was no show. Splitting these hairs and using the correct
                      wording became important for the arbitration hearings >to get back the
                      lost wages.

                      Yes it is...under normal situations...sports are not all that normal.
                      The hitch here is that other unions probably will not support any strike
                      that are of any real meaning. The arena people have to stay on hand as
                      there are other events to be held there. And the entire point is that it
                      is HIGHLY unlikely that the players would vote to strike. And if they
                      did, their ship would be as leaky as a colander! This is not a union
                      where there is a great deal of loyalty. Keep in mind, few guys belong to
                      it very long as they end up in non unionized leagues and there really is
                      not all that much gained by it. Keep in mind, there is no draft, so a
                      rookie maybe have 5 teams in one league ALONE making offers to him let
                      alone the others. There are a large number of free agency options. There
                      are other leagues and if you hold out in this one you are universally
                      traded! Keep in mind, a major lynchpin of the design here is to keep
                      players from playing in a given town long enough to have a following and
                      to dictate terms! If a guy is a pain you deal him you NEVER knuckle
                      under! So there are few major issues to fight over! Like we told guys
                      back in the early days, "what will they get you 50 more bucks a week
                      which you will then have to spend on your dues". There is no die hard
                      loyalty!

                      And don't EVER buy the argument of "developmental" status for this
                      level! It is a load of BULL. There are more owners that care about
                      buying mining rights to asteroids than there are those who care about
                      player development! And 99 % of these guys will never move up anyhow for
                      long term careers. I was there when the rules came into being and the
                      vet rule came about as one prominent owner put it "we don't want guys
                      hanging around town for 4 or 5 years and start to think that they own
                      the place..." the other dove tail here is that the vet rule encourages
                      more two way contract guys who both save the owners money AND are yet
                      another group who could give a rooster's butt about what the union
                      says...they are provided for by their higher league contract...

                      >I certainly learned a lot, and I certainly was unprepared for both the
                      psychological effects and the misrepresentation in the media. Neither a
                      >strike or a lock out is a pleasant experience for anyone involved.

                      And one here is not all that likely...

                      >But I do believe that these players have a right to a living wage, and
                      have >a right to insurance coverage for their families.

                      And they do better than you think...What is never mentioned are the
                      freebies. In a lot of towns guys get passes to restaraunts or grocery
                      stores. Many have wives and/or girlfriends set up for jobs. In the end
                      it isn't NEARLY as bad as it seems.

                      As for perks, the bottom line is that this level survives by offering
                      it's fans low priced entertainment. The more benefits you add the more
                      the price goes up. Support is VERY price sensitive at this level so the
                      higher price the less fans you see at games. And given that most owners
                      at this level are not billionaires, they can't and/or won't tolerate too
                      many six figure losses. And if we see those losses more jobs are gone!
                      This is a entrepenurial level of hockey. Sure guys buy with vanity as a
                      role like at any other level. But they also simply can't afford a toy
                      that loses money. And most are in it EXPECTING a profit.

                      These leagues are built for the young. By the time a guy is starting to
                      have children, unless he has moved up, became a major star at this level
                      or has a wife with a REALLY good job, it is time to think retirement.
                      These places are designed for the kids...the guys who get out of school
                      or junior and want to give it a go for a few years. By then things
                      happen or they don't. Players know the pay scale and know the score.
                      There are no more guarantees in European leagues (talk about LACK of
                      perks...) or non unionized leagues. Guys know what they are getting
                      into. Things are very finite for most of them. And nobody twists their
                      arm to play! You do this to chase the dream and have some fun. A
                      miniscule percentage will go on to move up or coach...the rest have to
                      face the real world at some point, usually well before they turn 30.
                      They cope. It simply is not as bad as you think. Most guys that I know
                      just want to know that they will be PLAYING in the fall and don't give a
                      damn about how this plays out as long as they are on the ice and ready
                      to go on time. Most of this league is made up of single young players
                      for newly married guys with working wives. And it is 99 percent made up
                      of guys that will be gone long before these are such "inhuman wages or
                      conditions". Most are VERY happy to have a place to stay, a bit of fame,
                      some freebies and a few hundred in pocket money each week. They enjoy it
                      now because it is stuff to tell their grandkids and in 5 years most will
                      be far removed, either in the real world or elsewhere in hockey.

                      Don't cry too badly! Think of it...you are 25...you are being paid to
                      play a game for a living...you have more than your share of your choice
                      in local girls...your dream is still alive...there is n 9 to 5...you get
                      to travel and horse around with your buddies...your rent is paid for and
                      odds are so is a lot of your food and even your golf and beer...ahhhh to
                      be young again and "exploited" for a few years...hell, I would have
                      played for 250 a week and NO benefits at that age! So would most of my
                      friends had AA been going well when I was that young...

                      In a nut shell this is why there will probably be no stoppage. The
                      little bio fits a lot of the league. The there is the other bio...25 and
                      WANTS TO PLAY...has a point to prove....and would almost pay to
                      play...they are out there too. And there are A LOT of them. Bio number
                      one knows that. Do they want to give up their life to one of those guys
                      who might come in and take their job? NO!





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                    • William Underwood
                      ... slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The musicians were fortunate that ALL of us on Broadway believed in what they fought
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jun 2, 2003
                        >There has to be posturing going on, it's part of the game. To digress
                        slightly in order to use what I recently experienced as an example: The
                        musicians were fortunate that ALL of us on Broadway believed in what
                        they fought for enough so ALL of us were willing to go out. As
                        miserable as it was (and continues to be), I wish they hadn't
                        capitulated quite so quickly, although all our unions were encouraging
                        negotiations -- none of us could afford to miss a paycheck, either.
                        Let's face it, in ten years, people will be paying $100 bucks for
                        karioke. That's sad, even though many of us will >be out of the
                        business by then.

                        There is always posturing and the owners have set forth proposals that
                        are almost rigged to divide down the line.

                        >When you look at the owners' proposal as put forth in the article, it's
                        insulting. Yes, the ECHL is an early step in many of these guys'
                        careers. But they should still be able to make a living. If the owners
                        made their money in any other unionized business in order to purchase
                        the hockey team, >you better believe that those unions would not
                        tolerate such low salaries.

                        First of all, the players have actually never had it better at this
                        level. You should have seen it when I was working in the league in it's
                        first few years! We had guys making under 300 a week and no compulsion
                        for us to pay for apartments. NOBODY plays at this level expecting much
                        money! IF they last at it they will move up, retire or become enough of
                        an AA commodity that they will find some sucker to ante up 1200 a week
                        for them either legally or by cheating the cap. "Low salaries"...take a
                        look at ACHL salaries or what was paid 10 years back and then we can
                        start talking about low...

                        Secondly, they actually have some benefits non unionized leagues don't
                        have.

                        Thirdly, there are other leagues that players can sign in at the AA
                        level. Hence players are in no way prisoner to the coast.

                        Finally, this is not like another business. This is hockey! These guys
                        are not like labor that is only really able to pursue one job and will
                        odds on stay at it for life! First of all most of these guys could make
                        a better living doing something else. I know Ivy League grads that sign
                        for 400 a week when they could probably be making that in a little over
                        a day if they used their degrees. Once more, most "careers" at this
                        level are over in well under 5 years, that is before a 27th birthday for
                        many. So to compare this to any other unionized trade is not so
                        accurate! Saying that a kid who CHOOSES to play hockey and pursue a
                        dream that is a long shot if they are at this level, and do so for a few
                        years until he grows up a bit is the same as a person involved in a
                        career that will put bread on their table for 30-40 years and that they
                        may well have few other things that they are qualified to do is simply
                        not all that true. Once more it is a career that will HAVE to be
                        supplanted for even the best while they are still in the prime of life.
                        Therefore there really is no comparison. The owners know this.

                        And as for the owners themselves, many have not really made their cash
                        dealing with unions. This level is one where moderately wealthy people
                        are more likely owners than fortune 500 types! You have your sports
                        entrepeneurs like the Richard Adamses of the world, your successful
                        accountants, doctors and lawyers forming groups. You don't have all that
                        many moguls...

                        >As far as strike/lock-out: there's a huge difference, and it's
                        important for people to understand what it is. In our case, the
                        Musicians went on strike. Actors' Equity and Local One went out on
                        strike as well, in suport (sympathy strike). The other IA unions (mine
                        included) refused to cross picket lines. The producers then locked us
                        out -- literally. The locksmith came from show to show and changed the
                        locks on the door. (The doorman at our show was nice enough to feed the
                        actors' fish). We still had to show up at the stage door at our usual
                        call time and sign in, proving that we were there ready to work, even
                        though there was no show. Splitting these hairs and using the correct
                        wording became important for the arbitration hearings >to get back the
                        lost wages.

                        Yes it is...under normal situations...sports are not all that normal.
                        The hitch here is that other unions probably will not support any strike
                        that are of any real meaning. The arena people have to stay on hand as
                        there are other events to be held there. And the entire point is that it
                        is HIGHLY unlikely that the players would vote to strike. And if they
                        did, their ship would be as leaky as a colander! This is not a union
                        where there is a great deal of loyalty. Keep in mind, few guys belong to
                        it very long as they end up in non unionized leagues and there really is
                        not all that much gained by it. Keep in mind, there is no draft, so a
                        rookie maybe have 5 teams in one league ALONE making offers to him let
                        alone the others. There are a large number of free agency options. There
                        are other leagues and if you hold out in this one you are universally
                        traded! Keep in mind, a major lynchpin of the design here is to keep
                        players from playing in a given town long enough to have a following and
                        to dictate terms! If a guy is a pain you deal him you NEVER knuckle
                        under! So there are few major issues to fight over! Like we told guys
                        back in the early days, "what will they get you 50 more bucks a week
                        which you will then have to spend on your dues". There is no die hard
                        loyalty!

                        And don't EVER buy the argument of "developmental" status for this
                        level! It is a load of BULL. There are more owners that care about
                        buying mining rights to asteroids than there are those who care about
                        player development! And 99 % of these guys will never move up anyhow for
                        long term careers. I was there when the rules came into being and the
                        vet rule came about as one prominent owner put it "we don't want guys
                        hanging around town for 4 or 5 years and start to think that they own
                        the place..." the other dove tail here is that the vet rule encourages
                        more two way contract guys who both save the owners money AND are yet
                        another group who could give a rooster's butt about what the union
                        says...they are provided for by their higher league contract...

                        >I certainly learned a lot, and I certainly was unprepared for both the
                        psychological effects and the misrepresentation in the media. Neither a
                        >strike or a lock out is a pleasant experience for anyone involved.

                        And one here is not all that likely...

                        >But I do believe that these players have a right to a living wage, and
                        have >a right to insurance coverage for their families.

                        And they do better than you think...What is never mentioned are the
                        freebies. In a lot of towns guys get passes to restaraunts or grocery
                        stores. Many have wives and/or girlfriends set up for jobs. In the end
                        it isn't NEARLY as bad as it seems.

                        As for perks, the bottom line is that this level survives by offering
                        it's fans low priced entertainment. The more benefits you add the more
                        the price goes up. Support is VERY price sensitive at this level so the
                        higher price the less fans you see at games. And given that most owners
                        at this level are not billionaires, they can't and/or won't tolerate too
                        many six figure losses. And if we see those losses more jobs are gone!
                        This is a entrepenurial level of hockey. Sure guys buy with vanity as a
                        role like at any other level. But they also simply can't afford a toy
                        that loses money. And most are in it EXPECTING a profit.

                        These leagues are built for the young. By the time a guy is starting to
                        have children, unless he has moved up, became a major star at this level
                        or has a wife with a REALLY good job, it is time to think retirement.
                        These places are designed for the kids...the guys who get out of school
                        or junior and want to give it a go for a few years. By then things
                        happen or they don't. Players know the pay scale and know the score.
                        There are no more guarantees in European leagues (talk about LACK of
                        perks...) or non unionized leagues. Guys know what they are getting
                        into. Things are very finite for most of them. And nobody twists their
                        arm to play! You do this to chase the dream and have some fun. A
                        miniscule percentage will go on to move up or coach...the rest have to
                        face the real world at some point, usually well before they turn 30.
                        They cope. It simply is not as bad as you think. Most guys that I know
                        just want to know that they will be PLAYING in the fall and don't give a
                        damn about how this plays out as long as they are on the ice and ready
                        to go on time. Most of this league is made up of single young players
                        for newly married guys with working wives. And it is 99 percent made up
                        of guys that will be gone long before these are such "inhuman wages or
                        conditions". Most are VERY happy to have a place to stay, a bit of fame,
                        some freebies and a few hundred in pocket money each week. They enjoy it
                        now because it is stuff to tell their grandkids and in 5 years most will
                        be far removed, either in the real world or elsewhere in hockey.

                        Don't cry too badly! Think of it...you are 25...you are being paid to
                        play a game for a living...you have more than your share of your choice
                        in local girls...your dream is still alive...there is n 9 to 5...you get
                        to travel and horse around with your buddies...your rent is paid for and
                        odds are so is a lot of your food and even your golf and beer...ahhhh to
                        be young again and "exploited" for a few years...hell, I would have
                        played for 250 a week and NO benefits at that age! So would most of my
                        friends had AA been going well when I was that young...

                        In a nut shell this is why there will probably be no stoppage. The
                        little bio fits a lot of the league. The there is the other bio...25 and
                        WANTS TO PLAY...has a point to prove....and would almost pay to
                        play...they are out there too. And there are A LOT of them. Bio number
                        one knows that. Do they want to give up their life to one of those guys
                        who might come in and take their job? NO!





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                      • goalie dave
                        I agree with Bill on AA hockey... the guys are lucky to be playing and if they complain their will be many more like them to take their place. maybe even some
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jun 3, 2003
                          I agree with Bill on AA hockey... the guys are lucky to be playing and if
                          they complain their will be many more like them to take their place. maybe
                          even some women JUST KIDDING BILL! Any 25 year old junior player and every
                          45 year old former junior player would be there in an heartbeat. Kind of
                          Like Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers a while back, some
                          battles just can't be won.

                          Glad the only thing you lost was your innocence Devon, becuase others have
                          fought an unwinnable fight and lost much more. To me it boils down to the
                          power... a handful of owners against hundreds or thousands of players... who
                          is going to crack first? The owners don't have hockey as their primary
                          source of income, so why would they care? They can still feed their
                          families.

                          Dave in Whitby

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                        • Devon Ellington
                          Bill, Thank you for your comments. They re very helpful. Someone mentioned an interesting theory to me the other day, and I want to know what you think (it
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jun 5, 2003
                            Bill,

                            Thank you for your comments. They're very helpful.

                            Someone mentioned an interesting theory to me the other day, and I want to know what you think (it was someone not in the hockey world) -- that the NHL might be encouraging the ECHL owners to try to break the Players' union so that they can use ECHL players as scabs if the N and A players go out at the end of next year.

                            Do you know why the ECHL players have a different union than the NHL and the AHL? Obviously, they're playing in a different league, but it would make more sense for all the players to be in one union.

                            Another question: I noticed that there aren't ANY sports unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO. I know sports are their own animal, but do you know if that's a sports choice or an AFL-CIO choice?

                            Yet another question: how do owners get around the CBA if they want to keep a player in spite of the salary cap? Sorry if that's a naive question, but if I don't ask, I'll never learn! Material perks, or is there another way to get them cash?



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                          • Hans Hornstein
                            ... Actually, the A and the E players are in the same union -- the PHPA. The NHL is the one with the different union (the NHLPA). -- Hans Hornstein
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jun 5, 2003
                              On Thu, 5 Jun 2003, Devon Ellington wrote:

                              > Do you know why the ECHL players have a different union than the NHL and
                              > the AHL? Obviously, they're playing in a different league, but it would
                              > make more sense for all the players to be in one union.

                              Actually, the A and the E players are in the same union -- the PHPA. The
                              NHL is the one with the different union (the NHLPA).

                              --
                              Hans Hornstein
                              lennier@...
                              Dona Nobis Pacem
                            • William Underwood
                              ... Thank you, I try... ... to know what you think (it was someone not in the hockey world) -- that the NHL might be encouraging the ECHL owners to try to
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jun 5, 2003
                                >Thank you for your comments. They're very helpful.

                                Thank you, I try...

                                >Someone mentioned an interesting theory to me the other day, and I want
                                to know what you think (it was someone not in the hockey world) -- that
                                the NHL might be encouraging the ECHL owners to try to break the
                                Players' union so that they can use ECHL players as scabs if the N and A
                                players go out at >the end of next year.

                                Not even a chance! The NHL could NEVER get away with scabs of that low a
                                level! The fans would find charging a50 bucks to watch 10 dollar talent
                                even more offensive than no hockey at all. They are plain old locking
                                the doors.

                                >Do you know why the ECHL players have a different union than the NHL
                                and the AHL? Obviously, they're playing in a different league, but it
                                would >make more sense for all the players to be in one union.

                                They are in the same union like Hans says.

                                >Another question: I noticed that there aren't ANY sports unions
                                affiliated with the AFL-CIO. I know sports are their own animal, but do
                                you know if >that's a sports choice or an AFL-CIO choice?

                                I don't think that the unions ever even sought membership. And it would
                                be an odd scenario! Sports plain old don't work like most unionized
                                employment.

                                >Yet another question: how do owners get around the CBA if they want to
                                keep a player in spite of the salary cap? Sorry if that's a naive
                                question, but if I don't ask, I'll never learn! Material perks, or is
                                there another >way to get them cash?

                                It all depends...there are cheaters that toss money under the table. And
                                there are more honest guys that will do things like help the player's
                                spouse find employment and maybe off season work for the player. There
                                are also others who are in between, that is they find bogus employment
                                for one or the other to find a way to get more cash but that is flirting
                                with trouble! And many just put the money on the table and say "take it
                                or leave it..." The entire ides of this level is NOT to have hangers on
                                that can even dare ask for too much money and have much leverage. And it
                                isn't like there aren't players floating out there every year. Between
                                new rookies and the fact that ALL minor pro leagues have veteran rules
                                and all AA leagues have both those rules and caps, there is A LOT of
                                movement. Almost every contract is for one year and free agency is only
                                restricted internally in your league, players from the others are fair
                                game. It is a buyers market for vets right now...So generally, if a guy
                                wants too much, there is somebody else out there that will play for what
                                you are offering who isn't bad.


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