NCAA to Pay College Athletes After 10-Year Legal Battle – UAW Wins at Mercedes in Manhattan – UAW Rank-and-File Critique Fain’s PR Strategy

Following 10 Year Legal Battle, NCAA has agreed to allow colleges (NCAA)


Greetings from the Burgh, where I am exhausted but tracking historical development in the NCAA. After over 100 years, the league has agreed to start paying its players. 

Big thanks to Capital & Main Editor Marcus Baram’s dope Sun Ra mix for keeping me going. Some historic news as “Hot Shop, Union Summer” heats up. 

After Ten-Year Legal Battle, NCAA to Start Paying College Athletes 

In a historic move, the NCAA and its power conferences, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and Pac-12, have agreed to let colleges start paying college athletes. 

The decision could affect the lives of tens of thousands of college athletes. The changes resulted from a ten-year old class action lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s refusal to pay college athletes. 

From ESPN: 

The NCAA and its leagues are moving forward with a multibillion-dollar agreement to settle three pending federal antitrust cases. The NCAA will pay more than $2.7 billion in damages over ten years to past and current athletes, sources told ESPN. Sources said the parties also have agreed to a revenue-sharing plan allowing each school to share up to roughly $20 million per year with its athletes.

“The five autonomy conferences and the NCAA agreeing to settlement terms is an important step in the continuing reform of college sports that will provide benefits to student-athletes and provide clarity in college athletics across all divisions for years to come,” NCAA president Charlie Baker and the five power conference commissioners said in a joint statement Thursday evening.

“This settlement is also a road map for college sports leaders and Congress to ensure this uniquely American institution can continue to provide unmatched opportunity for millions of students. All of Division I made today’s progress possible, and we all have work to do to implement the terms of the agreement as the legal process continues. We look forward to working with our various student-athlete leadership groups to write the next chapter of college sports.”

All Division I athletes dating back to 2016 are eligible to receive a share as part of the settlement class. In exchange, athletes cannot sue the NCAA for other potential antitrust violations and drop their complaints in three open cases — House v. NCAA, Hubbard v. NCAA and Carter v. NCAA.

For more, check out 

Ace Yahoo college football reporter Ross Delinger has an in-depth breakdown of the what the deal and ten-year NCAA fight means.

UAW Wins at Mercedes Dealership in Upstate New York as “Hot Shop, Union Summer” Heats Up 

While the UAW may have lost last week at a 5,000-person Mercedes shop in Alabama, they won this week at a Mercedes. However, in New York City, the UAW has struck a blow against Mercedes at a key shop in Manhattan. 

On Thursday, the NLRB announced that workers at a Mercedes dealership in New York City had voted to unionize with UAW Local 259 by a margin of 31-18. 

It’s likely that the UAW will hold many such elections in smaller shops this summer. While the union may have been defeated taking on a 5,000-person shop, smaller shops are much easier to organize. 

It’s one of many union elections that we suspect will occur this summer in supplier and car shops associated with major brands. 

“Workers rights, how to build power and win economic justice is so desperately needed all across our Country. These brave workers bonded together, shocked MB USA to its core, and showed us all that nothing is impossible,” said UAW Local 259 on their Facebook page. 

Earlier this month, members of UAW Local 259, which won the union election, had been on strike at a nearby Kia dealership, helping to inspire many of the workers in the plant. 

Following its victory at the Mercedes dealership in Manhattan, the union plans to target more auto shops in the area. 

For more, check out UAW Local 259’s Facebook page. 

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Across the United States, we will see an increase in union organizing this summer. The Volkswagen win and other high-profile labor wins have motivated workers nationwide. 

Some will lose, and some will win, but there will be a lot of winning, particularly in the smaller “hot shops” this summer. Payday hopes to get out there and cover this “Hot Shop Union Summer.” 

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UAW Mercedes Leaders Question PR Strategy 

Earlier this week, Payday was criticized for writing a story about how a weak organizing committee and digital media-heavy approach sunk the UAW at Mercedes in Alabama. 

Now, in an op-ed for Labor Notes, rank-and-file UAW organizer Jeremy Kimbrell has also questioned the PR strategy-driven focus that led the UAW to skip vital steps in building an organizing committee. From Labor Notes: 

What would I do differently? Our company didn’t launch an active anti-union campaign until after we announced that we had 30 percent union cards signed. While that announcement generated excitement, it also triggered the company probably earlier than they would’ve otherwise.

Also, a chorus of “let’s vote” became louder and louder, because legally 30 percent is the minimum you need to file for election. It was very distracting and took away from where the focus needed to be: building a pro-union majority.

You can vote with 30 percent, but you damn sure can’t win. I liked the buzz that the 30 percent announcement created, but maybe we should’ve waited a bit longer to announce or not even announce at all. It’s debatable.

For more, check out Labor Notes. 

We’ll have more tomorrow on whats happening with the UAW after Mercedes – feel free to email ideas of thoughts to [email protected] 

Links & News Elsewhere

Alright, folks, I desperately need to go to bed. Feel free to email [email protected] if there are any typos, you have any thoughts, suggestions or just wanna share a link. 

Donate to Cover “Hot Shop, Union Summer” to focus on covering supplier organizing. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 778 recurring donors today. Thanks for all the support yinz! 

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]