The Raiderettes have settled a lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders for $1.25 million, which will triple the cheerleaders' pay and reimburse them for business expenses and mileage. It was one of several similar lawsuits facing NFL teams.
If approved in court, the settlement would bring an end the first lawsuit brought by NFL cheerleading squads against their teams eight months ago, demanding additional compensation for their work. Individual members had been paid $125 per game, which they would receive in one lump sum check at the end of the season, according to the Los Angeles Times
Under the new agreement, they will get paid every two weeks, making $9 per hour, plus overtime for roughly 350 hours, including rehearsals, practices and community events, increasing their pay from an estimated $1,250 to about $3,200 per cheerleader, according to the newspaper.
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"I'm so excited, honestly," Lacy T., 28, who originally filed the lawsuit, reported theTimes. She has not allowed her last name to be used because she feared of reprisals from Raider fans, the newspaper said.
She told the Times that many of her fellow cheerleaders, who will benefit from the ruling in back pay, have shunned her because she filed it.
"I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing this long journey is over and will end happily for 90 women," she said. "I feel very proud about that. I know we're just cheerleaders to people, but we’re low-wage workers working for a billion-dollar industry. It shows everyone that one little girl who stood up and said, 'This is not right,' changed the way the Raiders do business."
A San Francisco Chronicle editorial
suggested that the NFL use a heavy hand in getting its franchises on board to standardize its procedures with is cheerleading squads. The Chronicle noted that cheering squads from the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets all have pending lawsuits against their teams.
"Given the complaints, it's a good thing that the Raiderettes' lawsuit has inspired league cheerleaders all over the country," the Chronicle editorial stated. "There's a pattern here, and it isn't a positive one. If the NFL is wise, it will insist that all of its teams follow basic wage and labor protections for their cheerleaders. To do otherwise is to risk more lawsuits – and the goodwill of the country's female football fans."
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