The Associated Press reported yesterday that the Oakland Raiders are being sued by their cheerleaders claiming wage theft and unfair employment practices.
The article says,
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that the organization withholds all pay from the Raiderettes until the end of the season, does not pay for all hours worked and forces the cheerleaders to pay many of their own business expenses.
According to the filing, Raiders cheerleaders are paid $1,250 per season, which amounts to less than $5 per hour for the time they spend rehearsing, performing and appearing at events for which they are not compensated.
It’s sad that they have to wait to the end of the season get paid. It’s worse that they command some pretty high fees for appearances and get much more in return. Here’s a snippet of what their fees go for according to the team’s website.
Standard – $400 per cheerleader (minimum 2 cheerleaders) appearance length: 4 hours
Each additional hour over 4 hours (not to exceed 8 hours in one day) is $100 per hour per cheerleader.
Events are for, but not limited to companies, corporations or individuals.
Examples: company sales meetings, performances at corporate events, golf tournaments, grand openings, conventions.
The amount that a company would pay to have two cheerleaders at an event ($800) is almost what one of them gets for a whole year. That’s ridiculous. Even moreso, the cheerleaders themselves get checks made out to them individually for each appearance.
Hold your pom poms for a minute. They get paid individually for each appearance they make?
That’s something not brought up. I also wonder how they choose which cheerleaders go to which event. That sounds like some muckraking journalism at its finest that needs to be done.
The lawsuit also contends that Raiderettes would be fined for certain violations, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.
The lawsuit also claims that the Raiderettes incur other costs, including fines levied for infractions such as bringing the wrong pom-poms to practice, wearing the wrong workout clothing to rehearsals, failing to bring a yoga mat to practice, or not turning in written biographies on time.
“The club controls our hairstyle and makeup, and we have to foot the bill,” said the lead plaintiff, Lacy T., identified only by her first name, in accordance with Raiderettes policy, for security reasons. “We also have to pay the costs for traveling to all kinds of events, including photo shoots… I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams.”
I know the NFL fines $5,000 for sock violations so I wonder how much the fine is for failing to bring a yoga mat to practice.
I’ve done some deeper investigating into the world of cheerleader pay and the only thing smaller than their outfits are their paychecks in other sports too.
The Chicago Blackhawks Ice Girls make just $50 per game, according to the team’s website. Those three must be cold.
The Houston Chronicle took a look at the pay scale in the NBA for cheerleaders and found a wide range of paychecks in this article.
Among the highlights, Laker girls earn $85 a game but the Knicks City Dancers make $150. It could be worse. The Portland Trailblazers whose BlazerDancers make minimum wage. Yes, seriously, minimum wage. Come on Portland. Pony up the dough. It’s surprising these girls in the picture below are smiling given their pay checks.
So none of these women who put in their time and dedication are really making much money off of it. Even though the other sport teams are getting paid less per game, they have five times as many home games to make money at. Even so, it’s not going to be a full-time job to be a Raiderette or an ice girl.
The Raiders had no comment on the lawsuit. Oakland also has $66 million available under the salary cap for the coming year. Maybe they could spend a sliver of that on the cheerleaders. It makes sense since they get through the season without getting hurt, unlike star running back Darren McFadden.
Our cheerleader pictures come with actual news.