Author Topic: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in  (Read 2134 times)

Offline hefnerjm

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Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« on: September 01, 2017, 11:07:00 AM »
http://www.referee.com/nlrb-board-rules-lacrosse-officials-employees-piaa/

likely to have impacts across sports. 

The perspective of any athletics organization is clear...huge potential increase in overhead to classify their officials as employees.  I would be interested to hear from officials...the rank and file.  The article says "they want no part of this".

Rather than just regurgitating media talking points/narratives, I would like to hear the pros and cons spelled out on both sides to know what exactly is at stake beyond the obvious

for example, if we are employees:
Pro: you could collectively bargin wages, working conditions etc ,
Con: you give the governing body a significant amount of control over what you can/cant say/do much like you do with your everyday employers.

Thoughts?
Coach: "I've been doing this 30 years!  I know the rules!"
Ref: "Are you married coach?"
Coach (suddenly offguard): "umm...yeah, why?"
Ref: "I've been married 30 years and my wife says there is still room for improvement"
Coach: "<silence>"

Offline Eastshire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 11:22:25 AM »
I want no part of it.

The entire idea is a mess and there really are no pros to it. The idea that there would be any successful collective bargaining of wages beyond what we already have is a pipe dream. Schools already don't have extra money to give us. Unionizing isn't going to change that. Becoming employees of the state organization isn't going to improve working conditions because the state organization doesn't control the workplace. The local school does. So there can be no progress made there either.

What you do get is the opportunity to have what meager pay you're already getting reduced to pay union dues to a union that simply can't make anything better. You get further re-entrenchment of the good old boy network (you think old, out-of-shape referees hang on too long now, wait till they have union seniority). And on top of that you lose the flexibility that is currently inherent in setting your own schedule.

It's ridiculous on the face of it as well. It is abundantly clear that referees do not meet the qualifications to be considered employees. This is purely a political decision on the part of the NLRB and not one based on the facts.

Online DallasLJ

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 12:12:15 PM »
I want no part of it.

The entire idea is a mess and there really are no pros to it. The idea that there would be any successful collective bargaining of wages beyond what we already have is a pipe dream. Schools already don't have extra money to give us. Unionizing isn't going to change that. Becoming employees of the state organization isn't going to improve working conditions because the state organization doesn't control the workplace. The local school does. So there can be no progress made there either.

What you do get is the opportunity to have what meager pay you're already getting reduced to pay union dues to a union that simply can't make anything better. You get further re-entrenchment of the good old boy network (you think old, out-of-shape referees hang on too long now, wait till they have union seniority). And on top of that you lose the flexibility that is currently inherent in setting your own schedule.

It's ridiculous on the face of it as well. It is abundantly clear that referees do not meet the qualifications to be considered employees. This is purely a political decision on the part of the NLRB and not one based on the facts.
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Offline ChicagoZebra

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 12:55:25 PM »
I would much rather be an IC. I imagine many of us have employment contracts at our "real" jobs that prevent us from being employees at other companies simultaneously.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 06:01:39 PM »
By law, sports officials in Alabama are ICs.

Offline TXMike

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 08:13:04 AM »
I would suggest just "holding your water".  The NLRB only had 3 of its 5 members when they made the decision.  The dissent written by the Chairman (a R) makes clear if he gets the chance this will be overturned.  There are now 4 members (2 D and 2 R).  One would expect the Administration to put another R there.  Although, past history has shown Congress is reluctant to approve NLRB appointees so the D's may stall it. 

http://apps.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d45824cc6f9


Offline riffraft

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 02:58:40 PM »
I prefer being an IC, but by the general definition officials in the states I am aware of, fit the definition of an employee.

Do officials negotiate their income? In most places a state organization controls the pay.
Do officials control where they work? in most places a state organization determines who work which events.

A simple solution would be like wrestling officials in Ohio (at least in Southwest Ohio when I was there). Each official gets his own assignments and can negotiate his own pay for an assignment (though there is a "suggested" pay scale given out by the wrestling officials association). Clearly an independent contractor.

Here in Arizona, I have no say in how much I am paid, whether I get mileage or not. While I don't have to take an assignment, All assignments are take it or leave it by the state.

I am somewhat surprised that this is the first time that the NLRB has ruled that way. For all practical purposes we are ICs, but it is close enough to be concerned that it might end up the other way unless the State Associations change some policies.

Online DallasLJ

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 04:33:16 PM »
I prefer being an IC, but by the general definition officials in the states I am aware of, fit the definition of an employee.

Do officials negotiate their income? In most places a state organization controls the pay.
Do officials control where they work? in most places a state organization determines who work which events.

A simple solution would be like wrestling officials in Ohio (at least in Southwest Ohio when I was there). Each official gets his own assignments and can negotiate his own pay for an assignment (though there is a "suggested" pay scale given out by the wrestling officials association). Clearly an independent contractor.

Here in Arizona, I have no say in how much I am paid, whether I get mileage or not. While I don't have to take an assignment, All assignments are take it or leave it by the state.

I am somewhat surprised that this is the first time that the NLRB has ruled that way. For all practical purposes we are ICs, but it is close enough to be concerned that it might end up the other way unless the State Associations change some policies.
  Pay is only 1 of several factors that are looked at to determine IC status.  For example, there is no training offered by the schools.  There is no control of how we do I jobs.  Morever, the part time nature of officiating tends to moves us towards not being employees.

Offline Eastshire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 11:14:54 AM »
I prefer being an IC, but by the general definition officials in the states I am aware of, fit the definition of an employee.

Do officials negotiate their income? In most places a state organization controls the pay.
Do officials control where they work? in most places a state organization determines who work which events.

A simple solution would be like wrestling officials in Ohio (at least in Southwest Ohio when I was there). Each official gets his own assignments and can negotiate his own pay for an assignment (though there is a "suggested" pay scale given out by the wrestling officials association). Clearly an independent contractor.

Here in Arizona, I have no say in how much I am paid, whether I get mileage or not. While I don't have to take an assignment, All assignments are take it or leave it by the state.

I am somewhat surprised that this is the first time that the NLRB has ruled that way. For all practical purposes we are ICs, but it is close enough to be concerned that it might end up the other way unless the State Associations change some policies.

We provide our own training. We provide our own equipment. We set our own schedule (or contract with an assigner to provide a schedule to us). All of these are hallmarks of ICs. Just because the school is the party suggesting the contract price, doesn't make officials employees.

It really isn't even close on the objective measures.

Offline The Roamin' Umpire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2017, 01:28:37 PM »
Many folks here are making definitive statements about how officials operate. I wish to offer a quick reminder that these policies and conditions vary, at a minimum, by state - in many states (including my own of NY), they vary by region within the state.

It is entirely possible, and even likely, that officials in some places meet the definition of employees and officials in other places meet the definition of independent contractors.

Offline Eastshire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 06:35:41 AM »
Many folks here are making definitive statements about how officials operate. I wish to offer a quick reminder that these policies and conditions vary, at a minimum, by state - in many states (including my own of NY), they vary by region within the state.

It is entirely possible, and even likely, that officials in some places meet the definition of employees and officials in other places meet the definition of independent contractors.

I've worked in three states. As far as the items of importance in determining between employee and IC, there were no differences between those states. So no, they do not vary at a minimum by state.

It is unlikely, though I suppose there is some small, almost vanishing possibility, that officials qualify as employees by the merits anywhere.

Offline bossman72

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2017, 09:03:13 AM »
We're not really IC's (at least in PA).

Do we get to set our own fees?  No. *See below.
Do we get to wear our own uniform?  No, the state dictates the uniform.
Do we get trained on our own?  No.  The state certifies, tests, and sends out training materials to all of the chapters.
Do we get to work the game the way we want?  No.  The state has a mechanics manual that must be followed.
Do we get to show up when we want?  No.  The game is at a certain time.  They don't accommodate the game time to our schedule.
Do we control which games we work?  No.  We are assigned by an assignor who is hired by the AD's.
Meetings are mandatory (6).
Dues are mandatory.

The schools roll up to the PIAA, even though we get paid by the schools.  Think of it in terms of the NFL.  Tom Brady gets his check from the Patriots, but when they do the CBA, they negotiate with the NFL league office.  So where you get your check from doesn't really matter.

Rememer, EVERYTHING is negotiable in the CBA.  So anything you think "automatically" happens if you are found to be an employee or any "freedoms" you might lose if you were found to be an employee can be NEGOTIATED in the CBA.  Want the right to decline games?  Negotiable.  Seniority wouldn't be in the CBA either.  No official would want that.

State dues would be replaced by union dues.  It's illegal to make an employee pay you for the right to work for you.  Therefore, state dues are illegal.  So, you wouldn't lose any money in that aspect.  In fact, the projected union dues are actually less than state dues.

Now, with that being said, some states are different.  Eg:  New York, basically everything is done through the chapters and the state association doesn't really do anything.  Indiana, officials actually solicit their games years in advance.  So in those states, the argument for IC is much much stronger.

*The story with the lacrosse officials started because the AD's wanted to cut their pay by $35 for a double header (2 officials work the JV, then a third comes in for the varsity game).  Lacrosse officials didn't want to take a pay cut (they didn't want a raise either, they just were happy with what they were getting paid).  So they said we refuse to work the games.  The PIAA then told their chapter president (the chapter covers essentially the entire western half of the state) that if they don't work for the pay cut set by the AD's group, then the PIAA will strip them all of their certification in all sports, disband the chapter, then make them all retest as new officials and re-do their background checks.  So reluctantly the Lacrosse officials went to work for the pay cut.  They then said this doesn't sound like something you can do to an independent contractor.  Therefore they made the case that they were employees because of the control shown by the PIAA and won.

Offline Eastshire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 11:32:52 AM »
Seniority wouldn't be in the CBA either.  No official would want that.

This bit cracked me up. Everywhere I've been, I've seen "experienced" officials who couldn't call their way out of a paper bag get the best assignments because of how long they've been around and who they know. So I see seniority problems without referee unions and you really expect that it won't be a problem in a union?

Offline Rulesman

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 12:50:23 PM »
I've worked in three states. As far as the items of importance in determining between employee and IC, there were no differences between those states. So no, they do not vary at a minimum by state.

It is unlikely, though I suppose there is some small, almost vanishing possibility, that officials qualify as employees by the merits anywhere.
i disagree. There are districts I'm aware of who have employees that officiate lower level games in that district. They are treated as employees. I believe it's more common than you think.
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Offline Reverend30

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2017, 03:03:11 PM »
i disagree. There are districts I'm aware of who have employees that officiate lower level games in that district. They are treated as employees. I believe it's more common than you think.

Yes - I am a teacher and occasionally work subvarsity games in my district.  When I do that, I don't get a game check, but have it rolled into my salary, meaning taxes, health, etc. are taken out, but it also contributes to my retirement. 

On the other hand I always joke with the AD about the worker's comp coming my way if I were to roll an ankle or sprain my knee while working a freshman game!

Offline Rulesman

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2017, 07:18:44 PM »
Yes - I am a teacher and occasionally work subvarsity games in my district.  When I do that, I don't get a game check, but have it rolled into my salary, meaning taxes, health, etc. are taken out, but it also contributes to my retirement. 

On the other hand I always joke with the AD about the worker's comp coming my way if I were to roll an ankle or sprain my knee while working a freshman game!
Really not a joke. IMO, you would be entitled to WC based on your description. Either you are an employee or you are an IC. You are one or the other. Your district canít have it both ways. Would be no different than if you fell down a flight of stairs in your school during school hours and rolled your ankle.
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Offline Eastshire

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2017, 07:45:05 AM »
Yes - I am a teacher and occasionally work subvarsity games in my district.  When I do that, I don't get a game check, but have it rolled into my salary, meaning taxes, health, etc. are taken out, but it also contributes to my retirement. 

On the other hand I always joke with the AD about the worker's comp coming my way if I were to roll an ankle or sprain my knee while working a freshman game!

This is a different situation. If you have an existing employer-employee relationship, it is not possible to also be an independent contractor to your employer. That's clear cut law. (An interesting area involves not-for-profits and whether it is legal for their employees to donate time to their employers.) And yes, you would receive worker's comp if you were to injure yourself.

In college I referee intramural sports as a student employee. I twisted my knee during a game and it turned into a big deal when I happened to casually mentioned to the HR director that I had hurt my knee on the job and my supervisor had told me to toughen up. (Did I mention the HR director was my mother? Probably doesn't matter  ;D )

Offline yarnnelg

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Re: Are officials ICs or Employees - NLRB weighs in
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2017, 01:35:15 PM »
How about leave it alone until you get on an NFL Crew and become a Professional?

Nothing needlessly screws up a good thing better than a State or Federal Employee telling you how to do something they know nothing about. Then charges you for it.