How Important Is CBA Language? Ask Tom Brady

You Can Have an Impact on Your Contract by Joining CBAC

When most people think of the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a few key things probably come to mind: wages, health insurance, job protections. Also of the utmost importance, however, is language calling for a neutral arbitrator.

The greatest quarterback of all time (Tom Brady, of course) now understands just how important it is to have that neutral arbitrator ruling on cases. The NFL players union’s CBA allowed for the big boss, Commissioner Roger Goodell, to appoint whoever he wants as an arbitrator. In the case of TB12, the commissioner appointed himself. In talking with the Concord Monitor this week, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Rich Gulla said the situation Brady is in is a direct result of this one part of contract negotiations.

“We have negotiated in all of our bargaining union contracts language that has fair and independent arbitrators for when employees need to go forward in these types of matters,” Gulla said. “Unfortunately, that is not the case for Tom Brady, and we stand behind him in his efforts.”

This isn’t to say that SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is better at negotiating contracts than the NFL Players Association; just to stress that there is a lot that goes into contract negotiations, and that even millionaire athletes can find themselves behind the eightball due to bad contract language.

One of the best ways we can ensure strong contracts that benefit all employees is getting as many voices involved in the negotiation process. You can do that as SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members through the Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee or CBAC. Coincidentally enough, the CBAC is slated to meet this coming Monday at 5 p.m. at the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 office. If you’re interested, you can email You may not be able to help Tom Brady, but you can certainly help your fellow union members.

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