The NFLPA held an important vote yesterday…and this one actually wrapped up in time. A vote was held on who would serve as the union’s new president, to succeed Eric Winston, and would you believe it, they actually came up with an answer on the same day the voting was held.
Winston’s successor will be J.C. Tretter, the starting center for the Cleveland Browns, who was selected over two other candidates who were running for the position of president. Those players were Sam Acho, who publicly supported the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Michael Thomas, a safety with the Giants. Russell Okung was also in the running, but dropped out—in fact, has filed suit against the NFLPA—and backed Thomas, but Tretter won out.
His first responsibility as president is going to be overseeing a reunification of the union—after all, unity would seem to be a pretty important factor in a union—in what is clearly a very divided voting process over the CBA. Some very vocal and high-profile detractors of the CBA have had their weight carry.
But there is also the reality that the majority of players in the league are the rank-and-file players whose concerns are more immediate than the most well-known commentators. And many believe that this group of players will vote to approve the deal that gives them a pay raise.
“You have to be able to look at it from both sides, and be able to interpret everything and not look at it just through one set of eyes. There are positives and there are negatives”, Tretter was quoted in an article from ESPN as saying about the CBA voting process.
“It’s the negotiations, and that’s how it’s gonna always be. You’re not gonna get everything you want, so there’s gonna be things in there you don’t want”, he added. “And I’ve just wanted to try to explain both sides — the stuff we’re getting, the stuff we’re losing — and that way, guys can make the determination for themselves of what they want, and what they want us to fight for”.
It may well have been a post on social media that Tretter wrote in which he outlined many key points of emphasis in the new CBA proposal, which many players referenced and found useful when they went ahead to cast their vote, that helped him gain backers, as well as his even tone, saying that the union is “prepared either way” the voting goes.
“If our membership decides as a group that we’re gonna pass it, then we move forward with that; if they decide that we need to do more, then we’ve been preparing for that and we’re gonna move forward with that idea”, the lineman said. “We know what we need to do, we know that we need to stick together; and I think that we’ll all be on board with whatever our membership decides”.
If the proposal passes, then there will be a large and vocal minority that will be discontent, but the league will also have labor peace for the next decade. If it should fail, then they have the opportunity to negotiate further in the hopes of bettering their share of the deal, but the ramifications beyond that remain open, and could result in a worse deal, and even work stoppage a year and a half from now.