Players unions representing thousands of athletes stand up for laid off Sports Illustrated staff

New York, New York - The American Federal of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Sports Council, comprised of major players associations, has issued a strong new statement in support of the unionized staff at Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated staff have received support from major US players unions as they face mass layoffs.
Sports Illustrated staff have received support from major US players unions as they face mass layoffs.  © JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

"On behalf of our thousands of player members, we stand in solidarity with the unionized workers of Sports Illustrated," the NFL, MLB, WNBA, NHLPA, MLS, NWSL, and USL players associations wrote in a March 1 joint statement.

"We were shocked to see that these journalists – who have worked tirelessly to uphold the integrity and standards at Sports Illustrated – were laid off as the result of a licensing dispute between The Arena Group, which publishes [Sports Illustrated], and Authentic Brands Group, its owner," the statement continued.

Earlier this year, the Sports Illustrated Union announced its members had been notified of impending mass layoffs after The Arena Group missed a licensing rights payment to Authentic. The news sparked fears for the future of the iconic sports journalism publication.

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"If management replaces the brand's full-time unionized workforce, Sports Illustrated will no longer be Sports Illustrated," the players associations said. "Our unions will always call out any attempt by management to treat their workers unfairly and demand that these union-busting tactics at one of America's most important journalistic institutions stop now."

"From the playing surface to the press box: Sports jobs are union jobs."

Cover photo: JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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