Of the many weapons labor unions have to wield, solidarity is the strongest.
As major labor conflicts proceed in Indiana and Illinois, unions are getting some professional solidarity -- from the football field.
Days after NFL owners and the players agreed to federal mediation regarding a lockout, Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson (the subject of many Bear fans' nightmares) showed his support for Wisconsin public employees protesting to hold onto collective bargaining rights.
He released this statement:
I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin's public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.
Consider how important the Packers are to Wisconsin.
Just as the Bears are important in Chicago, the Packers are a religion to Wisconsinites. The people protesting in Madison likely were out celebrating the Packers Super Bowl win just weeks ago. Now, one of those Packers has voiced his support. Can you imagine how galvanizing that would be?
NFL labor talks reportedly are progressing better than their counterparts in Wisconsin.
After five straight days of negotiation, there has been little official news, but that can be construed as a good thing.
Both sides are respecting the rules set forth by federal negotiators on keeping what's said in the room private.
The clock is ticking as the current collective bargaining agreement runs out next Friday, but hopefully the progress continues, or it will be the teachers, firefighters and police officers who will have to show support for the football players.