At the end of last month, the NBA sent a short news release announcing an agreement with a union representing league referees to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine. All referees, including “recommended boosters”, are required to be fully vaccinated to play the game.
Otherwise, the statement said the referee could not work.
The announcement came after the turbulent NBA season, when several referees had to miss the match because they were in contact with someone who tested positive, sometimes calling G-League officials to the league to fill the gap. I was forced to do that.
This agreement was noteworthy when trade unions in various industries were split on whether to agree to members’ vaccine obligations. Some unions, such as the American Nurses Association, support their mission because of concerns about their members’ health, while others, the most prominent police unions, allow members to make their own health decisions. He opposes the mission for infringing his rights.
This issue is highly politicized, as there are many restrictions on viruses. Vaccine mandates have long been common in schools and universities, and are common on international travel.
The National Basketball Referees Association represents 50 retirees and 145 members in charge of NBA, WNBA, and G League matches. Their agreement stands out in the world of sports, and in their own sports. NBA players do not have such an obligation, which can create a nasty situation where some league employees are required to be vaccinated and others are not. (However, local rules stipulate that only vaccinated individuals can enter the arena, so the league is fully vaccinated for Net, Knicks, and Golden State Warriors players to play at home. I gave a decree that I needed to be vaccinated.)
Of the union’s 73 NBA referees, five of whom are women, 36 percent are at least 45 years old.
The NBA Players Union did not respond to requests for comment on where they stand in their vaccine obligations. In June, 99% of WNBA Athletes were completely vaccinated.. An NBA spokesman said the number of NBA players was about 85% and the league was “discussing with the union on various topics of the season, including vaccination.”
The NFL and MLB do not have similar contracts with referees or players that the NBA has with referees. The NHL did not require players to be vaccinated, and the league did not respond to inquiries as to whether it would extend to ice authorities. An MLB spokesman said the league strongly recommends vaccines to all referees and is considering “coordination” in light of the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of Pfizer vaccines, which means obligation. I didn’t say whether or not. In March, Tony Clark, head of the MLB players’ union, said the group he led was against the mission.
Mark Davis, chairman of the basketball umpire union and the umpire himself for more than 20 years, said in an interview that the agreement arose from a strong relationship with the NBA and that umpires widely support the mission. Stated.
This conversation has been edited and summarized for length and clarity.
Can you tell us how the vaccine obligation was born?
In an environment where management and workers work together, I think we are constantly working on issues and always having dialogue.
When it comes to who introduced the idea, I think that relationships and constant conversations emerged. So, obviously, this was really in line with both our mission statement to provide care, safety and security for our members and their families.
It is a common view that vaccines are probably one of the top three inventions in human history. And with access to this innovative vaccine, it’s not too hard to start a conversation and get it done so that we can continue to work, do business, and continue to work together.
What is the value of the referee’s union delegation if the players disagree?
Well, first of all, we are our own independent group and I think the players will reach some consensus. They are also solving their problems. They may have different problems than we had, or they may simply have a different pace. I can’t talk to them, but I’m sure they will solve their problem too.
Understand Vaccine and Mask Obligations in the United States
- Vaccine rules.. On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of Pfizer BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people over the age of 16 paving the way for increased obligations in both the public and private sectors. rice field. Private companies are increasingly requiring employees to vaccinate. Such obligations are legally permitted and are upheld in court opposition.
- Mask rule.. In July, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing masks in indoor public places in areas where all Americans are experiencing outbreaks, regardless of vaccination status. Find out where the CDC guidance applies and where the state has developed its own mask policy. In some states, the mask dispute is controversial, and some local leaders oppose the state’s ban.
- University. More than 400 universities require students to be vaccinated with Covid-19. Almost all are in the states that voted for President Biden.
- school.. Both California and New York City have introduced vaccine obligations to their education staff. According to a survey released in August, many American parents with school-aged children oppose the mandatory vaccines for their students, but masks for students, teachers, and staff who do not have shots. He supported the mandatory requirement.
- Hospitals and medical centers.. Many hospitals and major healthcare systems require employees to be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine. This is due to the increased number of cases caused by the Delta variant and the low stubborn vaccination rate in the community, even within employees.
- New York City.. Indoor meals, gymnasiums, performances and other indoor situations require proof of vaccination for workers and customers, but enforcement will not begin until September 13. Teachers and other educational workers in the city’s vast school system must be vaccinated with at least one vaccine. Administered by September 27, without weekly test options. Municipal hospital workers also need to be vaccinated or have weekly tests. Employees in New York have similar rules.
- At the federal level. The Pentagon has announced that it will require 1.3 million active military personnel in the country to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by mid-September. President Biden has announced that all private federal personnel must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or subject to regular inspections, social distances, mask requirements, and most travel restrictions.
The advantage of the mission is that our officials are flying commercially. They have a family coming back. We are in the basketball business. We are intimate with the players. We recognize the importance of vaccines. I think this works for all levels in all leagues.
Was there a significant amount of resistance from people in the union that this would affect?
From a numerical point of view, I would say no. But I could hear their voice. We have clarified their concerns. We have tackled those issues. The main issue of concern was FDA approval. And one of the things we negotiated addressed was the issue that no one was needed before FDA approval. So it’s a kind of common sense approach. Obviously, FDA approval came when we reached an agreement, or almost at the same time.
With the understanding that the player is your colleague, resistance along the line “Why do we need to agree to the mandate when the player did not agree to the mandate?” was it there?
No, because when we first started the conversation, we knew they were also starting the conversation. We just reached an agreement before them. We did it at our own pace. We were not interested in the decisions of other groups.
How much did you follow what other unions are doing when you are negotiating? Did you contact other refereeing associations?
We were in constant contact with the players’ association. We were in constant contact with hockey, baseball and NFL players. Other unions such as Southwest Airlines mechanics and United Airlines employees. They had some very difficult things and couldn’t get over them. It turned out to be different from what we agreed to. We didn’t have such an experience in the NBA. It was never a controversial head-to-head match.
Do you think the players’ union should agree like you?
As an executive of our union or a member of another union, it is not my position to discuss or clarify what someone else should or should not do. I wonder what they will do for the best interests of their supporters. We know our best interests.