Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 09/16/12 at 01:59 PM ET
I feel like I'm going through the stages of grief here. Just when I'm ready to move on to acceptance of the lockout, Douglas Murray smashes the NHLPA's nice PR record to bits with this explanation:
“It’s tough to explain. People see how much money we make and we have, but I would ask them what would you say if the owner of the company you work for would just come and tell you, ‘OK, we’re taking away 20 percent of your salary.’
“And you ask why, and they say I just want to make more money. I don’t think you’d be that happy. Most people would probably switch jobs or at least not be very happy in that work environment.” -Working the Corners
Ugh. I guess not everyone realizes companies have been doing just that-- asking employees to take pay cuts-- for years now. Maybe it isn't called a pay cut. Maybe it's pressure to become a partner and invest in the firm, even though you know you will have much less in your pocket at the end of the year. Maybe you're offered stock options instead of cash. One way or another, most of us are getting squeezed and switching jobs isn't so easy.
Do employers have a better excuse than "I want to make more money"? No. It's always about making more money, whether the company is flush or not.
Then there's this video from the NHLPA, which opens saying the players know the fans "suffer the most" in a lockout. I know fans are the target audience there, but don't patronize me. I know perfectly well I'm not the one who suffers the most when the games are cancelled. I don't work for the NHL or one of its arenas or vendors. I don't lose a day of work, employee benefits or a dime of mad money. Most fans don't suffer the most in a lockout, and we know it. We're still cranky:
@Isewinsf: Support your local Minor League Hockey teams! Go #AHL #ECHL #SFBulls!!!! Screw NHL Owners & Players!
I don't think it's a problem of understanding but one of perspective.
I don't have to imagine being asked to work for less, or for no salary at all. What would I say? I said "thanks for keeping me on the company health insurance policy." I was not being sarcastic.
I do understand where Murray is coming from, minus many millions of dollars. Until relatively recently, you didn't ask people to take pay cuts. You removed the person you couldn't afford to keep, and you hired someone cheaper. The higher paid employee could find work somewhere else without taking less. No more.
I consider it nothing short of a miracle that the NHL is doing as well as it is. True, professional sports tend to fare pretty well during depressions and recessions, but I'm not sure all parties in the NHL CBA negotiations realize just how lucky they have been. Neither side can possibly predict how things will go in the next five to ten years. I hope things go well, and not only because I want to see NHL hockey thrive. If things go the other way again we are all in deep trouble.
Once upon a time I didn't care if the company was folding out from under me, I blamed the owner for botching the job and causing the problem. I had a laundry list of the mistakes he'd made. Now I don't think my employers all did bad jobs. Some worked without paying themselves for years. I saw so many companies go under, I began to think of myself as some kind of Typhoid Mary. I gradually realized it wasn't just me, this was happening all over.
What has never changed is this: cutting salaries does not create growth, it just helps maintain the status quo. If you want to grow, stop spending money trying to sell snow cones in Antarctica, move the franchise to the tropics... or Quebec, or Seattle, anywhere people actually seem to want your product. The new market may not be better but there comes a time when you know it can't be worse.
Or the NHL could leave them where they are, write them off as charitable buffers for the local economies. Just don't pretend cutting player costs will make them profitable.
Players and owners alike need to be more realistic about the economy they are working in. Those eggs they are bickering over won't hatch if the chickens expected to lay them can't get enough to eat. They don't control all that, but both sides should hunker down and take what they can get as soon as possible. I know they probably won't. We may share the same planet, but I don't think we breathe the same air.
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About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org