Michael LeRoy : Courses and Seminars
Collective Bargaining in Sports and Entertainment
This seminar examines collective bargaining in the contexts of professional sports and entertainment. The Sherman Act and Clayton Act are studied in light of antitrust exemptions that apply to monopolistic employment arrangements such as the reserve system (its opposite is called free agency), the draft and exclusive rights for a player, eligibility restrictions for star amateurs, and other anticompetitive practices in music, theater, movie, TV, and sports settings. The seminar explores how unions have evolved as potent employee responses to highly restrictive employment practices. Readings examine powerful weapons under the National Labor Relations Act that unions may use to counteract employer cartels in theater, movies, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and related industries. These weapons include full and partial and intermittent strikes, as well as strike threats. The seminar examines how these bargaining tactics enable rank-and-file employees, and star performers, to share in the wealth that they generate in combination with capital investments made by employers. The seminar emphasizes writing. Students are assigned weekly question sets, and are expected to submit a seminar paper based on the accumulation of these exercises. Weekly reading and submission of a short response paper before each class. There is one arbitration case, presented near the end of the course, that requires some time to prepare outside of class with a team of classmates (estimated group prep time is 3-6 hours, and can be handled in various online group-project formats-- or, with in-person meetings). During the arbitration phase, there is no weekly reading or pre-submit assignment. Students wishing to take the class for three credits must complete an additional short research paper (10-12 pages).