If you’re like me and millions of other Americans, the beginning of the National Football League season is one of the more fun times of the year. Week 1 means that all of our teams are still in contention (at least for one more day). In contention all season, though, are the working people who bring you Game Day. Nearly every aspect of the NFL experience, in the stadium or at home, is brought to you by union members.
For starters, the players themselves are members of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). The referees are members of the NFL Referees Association. The footballs themselves are made by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
As the video above shows, Electrical Workers (IBEW) members build and maintain stadiums. Stadiums are big complex structures that require the expertise of many different professionals. Unions that participate in the construction and maintenance of NFL stadiums include: Boilermaker (IBB), Bricklayers (BAC), Carpenters (UBC), Elevator Constructors (IUEC), Ironworkers, Laborers (LIUNA), Operating Engineers (IUOE), Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and United Steelworkers (USW).
Stadiums are packed with people, from players, coaches and referees to fans, cheerleaders and workers. Getting them to and from the stadium safely and on time is the work of Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), Machinists (IAM), Amalgamated Transit Workers (ATU), Transport Workers (TWU) and Teamsters.
Inside the stadium, it’s important to keep fans and workers safe and to keep the facilities clean. Those jobs are done by Fire Fighters (IAFF), first responders (AFSCME), police officers (IUPA) and custodial workers and security (SEIU).
During the game, announcing, commentary, advertising, broadcasting and music (and related services) are provided by unions, including: American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), IBEW, NABET-CWA, The News Guild-CWA and SAG-AFTRA.
If you are watching the game in the stadium, concessions are run by UNITE HERE. If you are watching the game at home, you can complete your union football experience by making sure that your gametime snacks and drinks are union-made with this handy guide from Labor 411.
So many people go into making an NFL game happen that it’s possible even our research on everything might miss something, so if there are any unions missing from this post, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll fix that as quick as possible.