Raiders Cheerleaders sue for lost wages.

I’m quite surprised at how little pro cheerleaders are paid. Most of them have extensive training in dance. They represent the team at charity events.

At $125 per game they are paid almost nothing. Especially when you consider all the rehearsals they are required to attend. The article is a real eye opener. They even have to pay their own travel expense? :dubious:

This is just so wrong. I’m not sure what would be fair. Maybe $7000 a season? That would at least compensate them for all the rehearsal time. The team should pay travel expenses too.

I always thought the swimsuit calendars were done by the cheerleading squad to make extra money. It’s modeling work for them. But it turns out they are required by the team to do the calendar?

Am I reading this wrong? Is the article implying there is no compensation for modeling work in the team calender?

I can’t find the Raiders cheerleader calendar on Amazon. But this shows how much money is getting raked in.

The Eagles Cheerleader calender is $46
http://www.amazon.com/Philadelphia-CHEERLEADERS-Calendar-covering-2013-2014/dp/B00HNCY68A/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1390519443&sr=8-23&keywords=cheerleader+calendar+2014

The Miami Dolphins is $39
http://www.amazon.com/2014-DOLPHINS-CHEERLEADERS-Swimsuit-Calendar/dp/B00HRRJPL4/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1390519468&sr=8-20&keywords=cheerleader+calendar+2014

The Jets is $39
http://www.amazon.com/Jets-Cheerleaders-Swimsuit-Calendar-2013/dp/B009ISXTWG/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1390519559&sr=8-13&keywords=cheerleader+calendar+2014

They don’t need to pay more because there’s a long line of young women who would step into their place if they want to leave. It can be a stepping stone to a bigger modeling career, a way to see and be seen, and some folks just love to be in front of 80,000 screaming fans.

That is the traditional viewpoint. That women are just cheerleading for fun and the excitement of being in a packed stadium. That’s certainly still true in college football. The cheerleader squads never have trouble getting volunteers.

But NFL teams make a lot of money off their cheerleader squads. $40 for a NFL wall calendar is just outrageous. The tv networks like to focus on them during game time outs.

I’ll be interesting to see how this class action suit works out.

NFL Cheerleader Union?
I’m not sure how to get it started as there are many other ladies in line for the position.

That doesn’t make it impossible. There are always dozens of actors eager for a part, but the Screen Actors Guild and Actor’s Equity are both fairly strong unions.

How do they actually survive? If they are paying any sort of travel expenses, that would be way more than $1250 a season I would think. They must be getting some other income.

Minimum wage is a very hot topic these days. Bad things happen to employers that don’t pay it.

I’m curious how the Raiders/ NFL justifies paying such a pittance to their Cheerleaders. It’s not like this is volunteers who just show up at the games and go rah, rah, rah. Modern cheerleading routines are choreographed dance routines with some gymnastics. Maybe they could be classified as dancers and included in SAG-AFTRA?

That may not be necessary if the NFL implemented a minimum pay scale for Cheerleaders.

I’d guess some work regular jobs the rest of the year. The lucky ones may model or dance. Then get by the best they can during the Football season. The drive to perform in front of an audience is incredibly strong. People sacrifice a lot for that chance.

I don’t think it would be a huge amount of money. It’s at most 4 months of part-time work. Paying them by the hour would be a record keeping hassle.

The Raiders pay $125 a game now. Raise it to $500. That’s enough to say they are getting paid fairly.

If by chance this suit goes to court and wins. I think the NFL could find themselves having to pay them by the hour. Imagine tracking every minute of rehearsal, team meetings, travel time, game day time. A hourly wage could get expensive in a hurry.

A fair fee per game makes sense.

Plus a reasonable fee per official event appearance, too.

And yes, the idea is that this is not FT employment but rather a “gig” and they are expected to have another source of income or other non-Raiders independent dancing/modelling gigs all along, but this is a high profile stage that demands a lost of lost-opportunity commitment, $125/game including mandatory non-game appearances is kind of insulting.

One of the Utah Jazz cheerleaders works at my office by day. I’ve never asked or been told an exact number, but she’s very clear on the point that their pay isn’t a living wage - they all either have day jobs, are students, or live with parents or a spouse - and once you factor in rehearsal time, is probably pretty close to minimum wage.

I can’t imagine a scenario in which it makes sense for the teams or the NFL to allow this to be a drown out court battle. My guess is that most of the cheerleaders are doing it to gain exposure and contacts; much like an aspiring professional would work as an intern - so the pay rate did not become an issue. I would guess that they will double or triple the per game pay rate to comply with minimum wage laws and avoid all the negative publicity and legal fees.

Considering the huge amounts of money swirling around NFL football, it seems really stupid for the NFL, or for the individual teams, to put themselves in a position where arguments about whether prominent people like cheerleaders are getting paid minimum wage could ever come up.

Not really.

You don’t think an organization worth hundreds of millions of dollars with a payroll and accounting department and hundreds of employees with all kinds of different compensation plans, and, yes, likely a lot more part-time seasonal, temp, and contract workers isn’t already adequately equipped to pay cheerleaders by the hour?

The question, I think, is just what they’re technically paid and required to do. The team could probably argue that the work for which they’re actually paid is just their time at the game itself, and by that standard, $125 for a few hours of work isn’t a bad rate at all. The rehearsals, they could argue, are necessary to maintain fitness for the job, but are not part of the job itself, and if a hypothetical cheerleader were able to perform up to standards with less or no rehearsal, she would still be paid the same amount.

Charity appearances might be de facto required, but are probably officially voluntary, and enforced only through unofficial channels. The calendars, though, are more problematic: You’d think they’d at least have to be paid for their time modelling, if not some cut of the profits.

These questions aren’t as difficult as they seem. I’m no expert on employment law, but the federal labor law has a lot to say about employers’ trying to pretend that work isn’t really work.

Yes imagine tracking every minute of every work day, just like I have to do for all of my employees now. :dubious:
What is the problem?

The suit is in California. I am a manager over other people in the state of California. Based on my somewhat lacking, but functional knowledge of California employment laws I predict that it won’t go well for the Raiders and the NFL.

I had noticed that, too; and that, to a great extent, helps owners get away with it. With the probable exception of the iconic Cowgirls the cheer squad gets little if any national air time. Could be because the networks want to avoid some Parents’ League type writing letters denouncing that when the games get slow they cut to "hey, check out THESE ‘tight ends’ "; they need to keep up the family friendly image, y’know, better show a couple more slo-mo replays of that last traumatic head injury. But since the cheerleaders do not much influence TV money and usually there is a plentiful enough pool of applicants, owners feel justified in treating them just a smidge above unpaid interns, with the resumé-building being the main compensation.

Thing with that is, then you can have a situation in which her participation in those "technically not mandatory but really expected " activities will influence who gets selected to the starting squad next week and to the calendar this year, making them constructively part of the work requirements. So maybe you can say, no payment to train and practice, but if you’re expected or “strongly encouraged” to make public appearances representing the brand? Then that should be paid. Doesn’t have to be wages, can be per-event fees still.

Simpsons did it.

No, really: they did an episode a few months ago about Lisa encouraging cheerleaders to go on strike. I wonder if this labor dispute has been brewing for a while or if it’s just a coincidence.