Striking a Balance

There may not be football this fall.  There could be an NFL players strike if the union and owners can’t reach an agreement.  For some of you, there is fear; if your Sundays are not devoted to football, your spouse may want you to clean out the garage.  For others, the reaction has been “Who cares?”.

The answer is YOU DO – or at least you SHOULD.  Strikes do not just impact the workers and the company, it impacts the economy for all of us.

Every game day, stadiums around the country provide employment for hundreds of people who never don shoulder pads.  They take tickets, clean bathrooms, sell shirts and foam fingers, serve beer and hotdogs, operate the scoreboard, blow the whistle and toss the flag, cheer the fans, paint the turf with boundary stripes, make announcements, direct traffic, provide security, take photos and video on the sidelines, write stories and air reports and pick up the trash once everyone goes home.

This doesn’t even take into account the independent parking lots that sell spaces and employ people to wave you into their lot and take your money.  Nor does it factor in the restaurants and bars near the stadium who see increased business before and after games, the Kettle Corn vendor outside the stadium or sports bars throughout the community that welcome fans every Sunday to watch the game over a burger with friends.  And who could forget the tax revenue generated from all the transactions?

It also doesn’t count the reduced business for those who supply everything from beer, to hotdog buns to Gatorade to toilet paper to footballs (36 per game) to clean uniforms.  Will the reduced revenue in these ancillary businesses result in layoffs?

Every employee who experiences reduced hours/wages as a result of a strike has less money to spend at your salon, restaurant, dry cleaners, car dealership, retail store, movie theater….well, you get the point.

In a time of economic stress, can any community afford a strike?

I’m not publicly weighing  in on the ongoing battle in Wisconsin between the union public workers and their Governor.   My roots are in a union worker family but I have never been part of a union nor have I had union employees.

Rather, let’s look at the situation from the view of the businesses in the area which have no obvious tie to the situation. When the teachers stayed out of the classroom to protest; countless parents were caught unawares and left with no child care options.  Businesses throughout Madison suffered losses in productivity as parents missed at least a day of work as part of the ripple effect of a walk out.

I point this out not because I have a “magic pill” to solve the issues, but rather in an effort to expand your view beyond the headlines.  Every news story has the potential to impact your business bottom line so it’s important to stay informed and connected to be able to make a difference.

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