Key role of expertise is spotlighted in ref woes
by Paul J. Weber, Associated Press
September 26, 2012 10:00 PM | 458 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An official, rear center, signals for a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, as another official, at right, signals a touchback, on the controversial last play of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle on Monday. The Seahawks won, 14-12. The NFL referee strike puts the spotlight on a nebulous notion that is often overlooked when it works as it's supposed to: the question of expertise.
An official, rear center, signals for a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, as another official, at right, signals a touchback, on the controversial last play of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle on Monday. The Seahawks won, 14-12. The NFL referee strike puts the spotlight on a nebulous notion that is often overlooked when it works as it's supposed to: the question of expertise.
slideshow
AUSTIN, Texas — If good help is hard to find, just how expendable is expertise?

In a year of strife between worker and manager, NFL referees found themselves with a bargaining chip that Chicago teachers, striking bulldozer builders and locked-out sugar makers lacked: a staggering blunder by overmatched replacements, resulting in a worst-case, told-ya-so fiasco laid bare for millions to watch in disbelief on national television.

On Wednesday, the NFL and the referees’ union appeared on the brink of ending a three-month stalemate, two days after the Green Bay Packers lost a game they would have won if not for a less adept crew of replacement officials.

The whole mess — and pretty much everyone involved agrees it is precisely that — puts the spotlight on a nebulous notion that is often overlooked when it works as it’s supposed to: the question of expertise.

Workers leverage theirs by going on strike, while lockouts are a bet by management that they can make do without it. It’s an impasse that usually plays out on picket lines and private bargaining tables, and the fight has trended in recent years toward management.

But few unions have benefited as much as the NFL’s striped shirts from such a high-profile validation of the value of expertise. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, from rank-and-file laborers to the most senior of American managers, this one has hit home.

“The big difference is that 100 million people can see football on TV, so the mistakes are glaring,” said Mark Froemeke, who’s been locked out of his job as a loader-operator at an American Crystal Sugar Co. plant in East Grand Forks, Minn., for 14 months. “The mistakes that the scabs are making in the factories are behind closed doors.”
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides