When it comes time to negotiate for an increase in pay, it’s wise to know how much you’re willing to risk. Take the case of the Pittsburgh Power AFL football team. The team requested a significant increase in pay per game. They rejected management’s lower counter-offer (just hours before the away-game was to start). As a result, most of the players were replaced and the scheduled game continued on without them.
Believing that you have more leverage than someone else
This is an excellent example of a group of people believing that the show can’t go on without them–when in fact, it could–and it did. Entire Arena Football team cut during pregame meal at Olive Garden
Stuffing a takedown attempt
In a fight, “stuffing a takedown attempt” happens when someone charges at you, aiming to knock you off your feet–and you stop them by blocking (or stuffing) the takedown. By doing so, you maintain the upper hand. The person charging in, can abandon his attempt or continue pushing–but to no avail–because you have the stronger position.
This is what “stuffing a takedown” looks like in a salary negotiation
“With AFL players set to strike before the 2012 season opener, owner Matt Shaner, reacted first, cutting his entire team hours before kickoff of a game against the Orlando Predators.
‘Mid-statement, all the players got up and left,’ former Power center, Beau Elliott told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Every player got up and left while he was still talking. There were 15 to 20 angry, large individuals’.”
Matt Shaner stuffed the takedown–directly in the face of a threat (a really big push) coming from the guys on the team regarding their union’s request for an increase in pay.
Stop fighting and consider your position
“The AFL Player’s Association was calling for an increase in the $400 game checks paid to most players on each team. The union demanded a 300 percent increase in the minimum salary. AFL owners countered with a $100 raise.”
By leaving the table, the members of the team, basically “stopped fighting”. They gave up their spots on this team.
Getting up and leaving rather than responding with anger was the better choice in this situation. With hours to go before the game was to begin, this was definitely the right time to get clear about what was most important to you — being on the team or off the team.
Some of the players showed up and played–taking some steam out of the union’s position.
The Back-up Plan
Shaner had backup plans ready for how he would handle the game, if none of his team showed up. Many players chose not to play, but replacements were found and the game continued as planned.
The members of the Pittsburgh Power team are now officially on strike–or have been replaced by other people, depending on your point of view.“The game was still played, with unfilled roster spots being taken by replacement players, some of whom arrived to the arena minutes before kickoff. One backup quarterback switched teams before the game after getting ‘drafted’ during a pregame selection. As a result, the season opener had the feeling of a pick-up game down by the local high school field. The NFL Network broadcast the game live. Announcers reportedly couldn’t identify a number of players. Pittsburgh won 40-26, in front of more than 13,000 fans.”
Shaner sat down at the table knowing that he would not disappoint the fans. He already had people lined up to fill in the empty spots. He accepted that the men on his current team were either willing to honor their promise to play or not.
If your boss can make a phone call and find someone to fill your spot within hours of you posturing and making threats over a salary negotiation–before you make that “or else” move, it would be wise to consider just how much leverage you have.
Not much in this case, as the players misunderstood how easily they could be replaced.
That doesn’t make management right. Shaner may have diluted his team’s skill level with his “whoever’s handy” tactic. Players on strike may cause fans to lose interest. Sometimes when you win, you lose (in the long run). Only time will tell. There’s always more to the story.
photo credit: man with world’s best boss mug,