Of course, being a union isn't all peaches and sunshine. We also take a hard and outspoken stand on issues that we see as undermining the pay rates, authority, safety, and nobility of the officiating craft.
What We Fight Against:
Assignors these days are simply afraid to negotiate. They bid on events as if they are peddling wares at the farmer's market, instead of working to better the livelihood of the staff they are supposed to represent. I guess it is a mischaracterization to call all of those assignors "chicken" — some are merely inept, incompetent, or simply do not care. These are the assignors we want to put out of business and get them out of our industry.
Assignors within our network do not automatically accept the first offer and actually work hard to negotiate the best available rate for their staff.
Or else, we call them out on it.
Excessive Fees and Misappropriation
Since when does Arbiter cost $60 per year? How many times will the assignor change the mandatory uniform? Are they taking 30% of the game fee for their administration costs? That's excessive.
Certainly we believe that assignors deserve a good rate for all their hard work but they shouldn't be nickel-and-diming their own staff or misappropriating money that was supposed to for the officials. We call on assignors to be transparent and fair about the cut they take from money designated for the officiating product. We believe that it shouldn't be more than 12%; the high end of what a good sports agent charges his clients.
In a complete aberration from all other professions, referees seem to be the only ones EXPECTED to perform their craft for free as "preparation" for the season.
Our bottom line: if we are providing a service, we deserve to get paid.
Albeit we make the occasional exception for a non-profit event benefiting charity, we do not assign any "scrimmages," "practices," or "exhibition games" that do not pay our regular rates.
The Good Ol' Boy System
Your schedule shouldn't be based wholly off who you know or how many drinks you've had at the last board member mixer. We believe there should be objective criteria to determine assignments, advancement, and opportunity.
We reject the concept of cronyism and the "Good Ol' Boy" system. Referees earn their work opportunities through us by working hard, hustling, and getting their calls right.
Reckless Proliferation of Camps
The recent surge in volume of summer referee camps can be compared to the issue of most for-profit colleges. Too many take advantage of aspiring young students looking to better themselves. They are instead formulated to turn up more money for Division 1 referees looking to cash in on their stature.
What's worse is that a lot of these camps are taking away from actual paid off-season opportunities.
We are on the lookout to expose these operations so that referees can steer clear — and invest their money into the few true camps where they can get better, be seen, and be hired!
Amidst the growing pandemic of referee abuse throughout the country, Ref Union stands 100% by its crews and challenges other assignors to do the same. Too many assignors are so client-oriented that they forget who their job is to represent. They'll let their officials experience every level of abuse and then discourage them from calling technicals because the "customer" might get upset.
We tell our referees to do what they need to do to maintain civility and respect on the sidelines and in the stands.
Under the Ref Union, referees and assignors are united in the best interests of integrity, high wages, transparency, legitimacy, and across-the-board accountability.
If you are interested in joining our group, please send us a message via the link below or through any of our social media platforms, and send your resume (basketball or otherwise) to firstname.lastname@example.org.