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Game action in Pittsburgh during a Pittsburgh Steelers (black/yellow) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (white/red) National Football League game on December 3, 2006. Players depicted include: (Steelers #99) Brett Keisel; (Steelers #51) James Farrior; (Steelers #2
The National Football League's history of denying the sport's devastating physical effects on players, especially the chronic concussions that have destroyed the lives of not just players but their families, is so disgusting:
The NFL’s retirement board awarded disability payments to at least three former players after concluding that football caused their crippling brain injuries — even as the league’s top medical experts for years consistently denied any link between the sport and long-term brain damage.

The board paid at least $2 million in disability benefits to the players in the late 1990s and 2000s, documents obtained in a joint investigation by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and FRONTLINE show. The approvals were outlined in previously unpublished documents and medical records (pdf) related to the 1999 disability claim of Hall of Fame center Mike Webster.

The board’s conclusion that Webster and other players suffered brain damage from playing in the NFL could be critical evidence in an expanding lawsuit against the league filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylania. The lawsuit (pdf), which involves nearly 4,000 former players, alleges that the NFL for years denied the risks of long-term brain damage and “propagated its own industry funded and falsified research to support its position.”

I'm a football fan, but it's troubling when you think of the NFL as an employer that's acted with callous disregard for the health of its employees, shortening their lives appreciably. And the NFL's lockouts of players and officials have just served to remind us that this is first and foremost a business operating to maximize profit at whatever cost to workers.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

  • If you were a Starbucks barista in Massachusetts between 2005 and 2011, you may have some money coming to you. A federal appeals court upheld a $14 million judgment against Starbucks for including shift supervisors in tip pools, which is prohibited by Massachusetts law. With interest, the judgment may grow to $18 million.
  • Sarah Jaffe has a fantastic look at the way Walmart has used a language of Christian values to win the loyalty of its workers and customers, and why, for some workers, that's eroding:
    In 2010, she was one of the associates invited to the Wal-Mart shareholders’ meeting, where she attended presentations on the great things the company said it was doing, for women, or against hunger, while its workers weren’t making enough to pay their bills and were subjected to unpredictable scheduling. She was shocked when an executive wanted to close the meeting with his favorite verse of Scripture: Luke 12:48, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”  

    For her, that moment of disconnect between the Christian values the executives professed to uphold and the reality she experienced at work was the last straw. “Right there I started praying for the Lord to expose these things in Wal-Mart.”

  • Paychecks for janitors at Walter Reed were seriously late and workers didn't know when the paychecks would come. Then, Huffington Post wrote about it, and the workers were suddenly paid.
  • Check out Just Cause Reform.
  • After a long, tense fight, New York Times staff have ratified a new contract.
  • The foreign students exploited by a Hershey contractor in summer 2011 will receive back pay for the work they did and for having been overcharged for housing.
  • Congress passed stronger whistleblower protections for federal workers, though not without having some major provisions blocked by House Republicans.
  • Yes, the National Labor Relations Act applies to non-union workplaces, too ... No, this should not come as a surprise, and yet so many employers seem to be surprised.
  • Hurricane Sandy has created a whole lot of work for some workers involved in the recovery effort. But it's kept others off the job with their workplaces closed—like, for instance, Atlantic City casino workers, whose union is trying to help them:
    Local 54 of UNITE-HERE on Friday opened a Helping Hands Relief Center at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church on North Mississippi Avenue that will be open every day except Sundays through Nov. 20, union President Bob McDevitt said.

    Between 13,000 and 14,000 workers are members of Local 54, he said.

    “There are people who have not lost anything (from the storm), but they haven’t worked in two weeks,” he said.

  • Nurses beat back concessions at site of Beyonce baby's birth
  • One teen's standardized testing horror story and where it will lead

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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