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Hey, Nike - Pay Up!
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OK, Nike, pay up! You owe me big. Exactly how much, I can't say, since I don't know the going rate for athletes and others who act as human billboards for you. You know, those whose team uniforms, workout gear and other garments display your swoosh brand symbol prominently.


I assume the swoosh-marked college athletes are not paid openly, lest they lose their amateur status, although their colleges, while profiting from the athletes' play and display of the swoosh and other brand symbols, of course face no penalties for doing so.


My days as an athlete are long gone and, sad to say, there were no swoosh contracts back in those days. But now, I think, it's time for me to collect a little.  You see, I was recently quite ill, and on leaving the hospital was under strict orders to go easy and, among other things, to wear light, loose fitting clothing.  No tight jeans and such.


But sweatpants, they'd be perfect. So I popped into by favorite clothing establishment and grabbed a pair of sweatpants off the rack without bothering to check anything but the size. Didn't even try them on.


Oh, but when I got the pants home. The shock, the shock. There it was on the side of the left leg, the dreaded swoosh for all the world to see on my daily doctor-prescribed walks and other sweatpants-clad forays into the community. I had become a walking billboard for Nike.


So where's my endorsement money, Nike? My pay. I'm working for you, after all. Do I have to bring in a union to get me what I 'm owed? I'm not asking for much, just whatever you're paying other human billboards. I'm not exactly a celebrity, but I am known rather well . . . and highly regarded, I like to believe, in some parts of my community. Seeing me wearing the swoosh might influence some of my neighbors to rush out and buy their own Nike gear. Naturally.


But realistically, I must tell you it's not likely I'll get paid for my valuable work on behalf of Nike. Big time athletes are paid, and paid well for wearing and endorsing the swoosh. But not us plain folks who wear the Nike brand.  We need a union to demand decent pay . . . to demand decent treatment.


That's it, a union to demand decent treatment for all who wear the Nike brand . . . plus the money they should be owed by Nike for doing so. There are, of course, unions of professional athletes. But their concern, as I guess it should be, is for their members. We need to form a union of our own to also get the big bucks for wearing the swoosh.


And while we're at it, we could use the leverage of our union to effectively demand much better treatment for the workers in Nike sweatshops in poor countries who produce most of the swoosh brand stuff.  Nor should we forget the celebrity athletes whose huge pay for endorsement of Nike products drives up the price we ordinary folks have to pay for sweatpants and other gear that the celebrities endorse only because they are paid to endorse them.


It's highly doubtful that any of our spoiled, hugely paid athletes would readily agree to share their endorsement money with lesser-paid citizens. But with a union, who knows? Professional athletes have their own powerful unions, so why don't their unions take up the cause of unpaid Nike endorsers?


That's one of the basic principles of unionism, unions seeing that their members get a fair share and helping members of other unions get their fair share. You know, solidarity and all that.


So, swoosh wearers, unite! Unionize! We have nothing to lose but our swooshes!

Copyright 2011 Dick Meister