Unions, Striking And Bodybuilding.

Why don't the big boys and girls of the IFBB do the same as baseball players and go on strike? Especially the women?
A couple years ago major league baseball took the plunge and went on strike. Only to loose a whole season, some fans, and lots of revenue...They definitely took the plunge! They're still trying to get out of the doghouse, with their fans, for their actions. They almost did it again this year. At the end of the 1998 NBA basketball season there were talks of a lockout. Yes, a NBA labor tiff. That's right, a season without the squeak of heavily endorsed sneakers rubbing the floor and the whisper of the ball sailing through the hoop for two points. Well, they did it. The NBA went on strike. Sports programmers had to place a more positive emphasis on the NCAA college hoop season. Arbitration almost took the whole NBA season, but they negotiated hard and got it settled before the season was lost. Hey, if major league baseball had their day in the sun, then why not the NBA. By the way, who showed by example for major sports? Non-other than the big boys of the National Football League. They even had those damn 'scab' players. How dare them!

Why doesn't the big boy's and girls of the IFBB do the same and go on strike? Especially the women? Yeah, I know, some of you are thinking, "Why the heck would bodybuilder's go on strike for?" Well, first you have your greedy owners, you know who they are, Ben Weider, Joe Weider, Jim Manion and Wayne. And then you have your greedy bodybuilders, all of them fighting and complaining over foolish things. There is literally no compensation for professional female bodybuilders, and male bodybuilders are only paid for top ten winnings if you make it to a show. It's kind of funny, the IFBB Pro Division, promoters and company owners say there is no money for shows. But, if you look at stock and financial reports for some of these companies, you would see that there is more then enough money to go around. Then who's being stingy with their money? The IFBB? The Sponsors? I say, all of them. Then why not strike?

Labor disputes have been going on for centuries, dating back to the 1800's. I cannot outline all the particulars but check out www.uniononline.com/history and you'll get an idea. Did you know that Title IX has been existence for 25 years? It was just expanded from its original format of equal education to include sports for women too. The National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) offers a 508 page publication titled, "A practical Guide to Title IX: Law, Principles, and Practices for $42.50. Title IX is one of the highest profile issues facing colleges and universities today regarding equal opportunities in athletic programs.

This issue is not just for colleges and Universities. It covers all women's rights. For-instance, take the steady decline in prize money for the female bodybuilder. This is inappropriate and could be a major law suit. Then how come the IFBB women pros haven't screamed discrimination? Or, for that matter, gone on strike? Because the IFBB Pro Division chairman, and possibly even Mr. Weider himself, would tell them to go for it, because they really don't care about women's bodybuilding anyway. And quite frankly the women are as disorganized as the men are.

First of all, it could, maybe, help for some of you to understand the reasoning. The IFBB 'claims' to be the governing body for the professional bodybuilding circuit, correct? Any governing body with their rules and so-called regulations can be challenged, correct? Whether that is through legal means or other, those rules can be challenged. Hey, they went after President Clinton. But, no one, has taken a stand, or formed a 'players' union like the all the other professional sports organizations. Is it fear, complacency, or ego? Each professional sports organization, whether that is football, baseball, or basketball has a union rep that represents the players with a stable of attorneys at their disposal. Sometime ago, back during Arnold's days, of muscle stardom, those boys of hard-core bodybuilding tried to form a union with a disastrous venture. Well, it never got off the ground. Why? They couldn't declare a head for the 'bodybuilders' union? Too many egos. Who would they have be their spokesperson now? Nasser? How about Shawn Ray?

Let's explain some more. It is standard practice in most professional sports to form a sort of "drafting" system. This draft is the standard for being picked into the pro ranks, and each individual is given a standard financial contract with signing bonuses'? How come this is not standard practice in the world of professional bodybuilding? The IFBB draft their Pro's through a group of amateur organization 'pro' qualifiers. These shows will turn an individual professional bodybuilder if he or she wins their weight class at the Nationals, or they win the overall at the North American, and USA Bodybuilding Championships. Isn't this the same as playing in the NCAA before you qualify to get picked to play in the stables of the professional ranks? No? Think about it.

Of course we all know you have to "BUY" your pro card. Yes, that's right. You didn't know that? It's true, a bounty is on that coveted IFBB pro-card, and you must pay your dues annually. But, that's OK; you have to pay dues for professional status as a tennis player too. But, the way the system for developing a 'Pro' status is set up for bodybuilding; it is the same system as the NCAA with the major professional sports drafts.

Maybe someday someone will become privy to all the possibilities and do the right thing for bodybuilding, who knows I might have to cross that line again and become a "scab" again. Naugh! I don't think so, not this time.