Monday, February 28, 2011

AUSTRALIAN SWIMMERS UNIONIZE! - Will negoitiate for better wages from thier governing body 'Swimming Australia'

[UPDATE: I just found out that US national team swimmers get a stipend of $21k - I am probably the last person to find this out. Here is a link to Swimming World with the details: [LINK]

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald discusses how swimmers down under will be able to collectively negotiate their wages with Swimming Australia. It was sent to me by somebody I truly respect and has contributed so much to the sport.

Swimming Australia is the equivalent of "USA Swimming" for Australia. Unlike USA Swimming which has a $34-million a year budget, Swimming Australia's budget is 18-million-dollars Australian. (Currently equal parity with the US Dollar.)

The Swimming Australian "pool" of money to be divided amongst 86 swimmers is $1.5-million which translates to about $17,500 each. (No wonder they are negotiating.) - Apparently the stipend money Swimming Australia dolls out has a sliding scale. From the article:

"... The Australian Swimmers Association, the ''union'' for the Olympic swim team, has just been given a tentative 10-year licence from cartel buster Graeme Samuel's competition commission to negotiate better deals with the governing body, Swimming Australia. [...]"
"... At the moment, level 1 swimmers get only $2468 a month, or less than $30,000 a year, for hours of gruelling early morning training, gym workouts, media appearances and travelling to competitions. The average wage in Australia is more than double that. ..."

If USA Swimming was collectively bound to give almost 10% of the base income, that revenue would would roughly fall at $33,700 for each national team member. This is not an exorbitant number; In fact, I find it paltry in comparison to the revenue they generate. I also think USA Swimming should throw in the same health insurance benefits their executives get if a wage can be negotiated.

I think USA National Team members should seriously consider collective bargaining. Here is a link to the AFL/CIO which explains how a union can be created: [Link]

No comments: