CHICAGO, Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) voiced its strong support today for the effort by Northwestern University football players to secure union representation with the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA).
USW International President Leo W. Gerard and USW National Political Director Tim Waters joined Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and CAPA President Ramogi Huma at a press conference to announce that the group had petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for representation by CAPA. An overwhelming majority of Northwestern players have signed cards supporting the effort.
"Too many athletes who generate huge sums of money for their universities still struggle to pay for basic necessities, and too many live in fear of losing their scholarships due to injury or accident," Gerard said. "These students deserve some assurance that when they devote weeks, months and years of their lives to an academic institution, that they will not be left out to dry, without the same basic protections that we all expect from the institutions we serve."
CAPA is a new union established by Huma, Colter and former University of Massachusetts basketball player Luke Bonner. The group's goal is to achieve greater legal protection for students' scholarships and to improve the conditions under which all student-athletes live and play. The USW is covering CAPA's legal expenses.
"Every successful movement requires effective leadership, and college athletes across the nation are fortunate to have Kain, Ramogi and Luke as leaders," Gerard said. "Our commitment to college athletes in their pursuit of basic protections will not cease."
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)