Post-CBA: Where We Go From Here
As NFLPA president, it is one of my goals to make sure we increase and improve communications as a union. So every month, I’ll be taking up a topic or two - including answering some of your questions - and posting some thoughts to our website.
I know everyone is anxious about what is happening with COVID-19 and, in the next couple of days, we will be sending out a detailed update about what we are doing to protect you and your families. In the meantime, here is my first crack on the importance of unity and our new CBA.
Our collective bargaining agreement was ratified by a majority of our members a little more than two weeks ago – although it seems like a lifetime ago with everything that has transpired in our world since then. The process for ratification was long and emotions often ran high, but we can make a good case there has never been a time in our union's history where players were more vocal and engaged about their business. Our goal will always be to have 100% participation in the voting process; but with nearly 75% of NFL players submitting a ballot, it is a much higher rate than almost every other election.
There is no such thing as a perfect deal. Any compromise, by definition, is inherently imperfect. I personally made those imperfections known throughout the process, but it is important to highlight the increases we earned at the negotiating table, especially as we consider the current worldwide pandemic, the uncertainty it causes and its effect on our economy.
In this deal, we have secured a larger percentage of a growing pie. Helping our core players was a top priority and we are pleased that minimum salary players will receive significant raises. Additionally, nearly 700 former players will now qualify for pensions with the new vesting rule, and more than 10,000 former players will see an increase to their pensions.
The addition of more games was a major concern for me as well as many of you. Every football player knows that this game carries with it a 100% injury rate. The health and safety of our players -- past, present and future -- will always be a top priority of mine.
Make no mistake about it; ratification of this deal does not mean our work is over. We have to continue to push for improvements in the area of player health and safety: through the collectively bargained committee, where we will focus on protecting our players with safer work/practice rules; through the establishment of our hospital and healthcare network properly; and by identifying solutions for players impacted by the Social Security offset for the Total and Permanent Disability benefit.
Finally, I have and will continue to spread a message of unity to our members. There are many other issues that we will continue fighting for, and if we show the same energy and commitment as we did through our negotiations, we will earn the gains that we deserve as players.
Regardless of where you stood on this deal, it is important that we as players come together. Unity does not mean that we are all in agreement on all issues. What it does mean is that, however the dust settles, we will be there standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers to continue the fight.