If you are not aware of the lawsuit brought on by five Buffalo Jill’s cheerleaders, they are seeking compensation for hundreds of hours of unpaid work and when I say ‘hundreds’ I mean almost a thousand hours each year that they receive absolutely nothing for. According to the affidavit each Buffalo Jill is required to perform approximately 20 hours of unpaid work per week, equaling 840 hours a year per woman. That to me is completely ridiculous, imagine if your job didn’t pay you for half of your 40 hour work week, would you continue to work there? I know I wouldn’t.
Things get worse from there though, the lawsuit alleges a slew of unethical business practices that essentially describe being a Buffalo Jill as being a modern day slave. As I read the affidavit all I could picture is these poor woman working their whole lives to become an NFL cheerleader only to finally reach that dream and realize they are nothing more than a slave.
Before I go any further I think its important to state that the Buffalo Bills are not entirely responsible for all of this, the Buffalo Bills lease out the management rights to the Buffalo Jills and the main culprits in these unethical business practices are Citadel Communications, and most recently Stejon Productions who took over management rights at the beginning of the 2012 season. The only reason the Buffalo Bills are mentioned in this suit is because they still own all rights to the Jills, but they are not the ones responsible for the atrocities that have taken place here.
Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of all this is the infamous ‘Jiggle Test’ where each week every Buffalo Jill was evaluated and ‘scrutinized on their stomachs, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks’. Now nobody wants to see an out of shape or flabby cheerleader, there is a big reason why cheerleaders are not 300 pounds and if you are not in great physical condition then you should probably consider a different career option. A weekly jiggle test is a little out of control though.
The person conducting the jiggle test? None other than Stejon Productions owner Stephanie Mateczun.
Stephanie Mateczun who is pictured on the right looks like she wouldn’t fair too well in the jiggle test herself. Those are some pretty beefy arms Stephanie has there and I’m willing to bet they have more than a plentiful amount of jiggle. She does not look like someone who should be demeaning other women and accusing them of becoming anorexic after they work hard to get in shape after she ‘warned them to get into better shape.
On top of hundreds of hours of unpaid work and going through a weekly jiggle test, the Buffalo Jills were forced to pay for up to 75 Buffalo Jills calenders, along with raffle tickets and baskets that if not sold came directly out of their own pockets. They would be punished for various infractions and have their game tickets and parking passes taken away but were still required to attend games, forcing them to pay their own way into their own job. Perhaps the most interesting and cruel punishment was being ‘benched’ where they were still required to attend games but were forced to sit in the locker room for the duration of the game. These things would happen for the simplest of things such as posting pictures on Twitter and “having a bad attitude”.
I’ll tell you, if my employer punished me for those two things you better believe I would bring a lawsuit against them too. The Jills were forced to sign contracts calling themselves independent contractors and apparently Citadel Communications and Stejon Productions thought that was enough to completely enslave them while paying them next to dirt.
Out of the 5 plaintiffs in the suit, the highest paid Buffalo Jill made a total of $806 during the 2012-2013 season, while the lowest paid Jill in the suit was paid $105 for that same whole entire year! $105 for a whole year of work? seriously? If these allegations are true then every Buffalo Bills fan should be supporting the Buffalo Jills and speaking up in their defense. Imagine making 28 cents a day while being subjected to cruel workplace punishments, its absolutely disgusting.
This leads us of course to the suspension of operations of the Buffalo Jills until the end of this upcoming season. What?!
This would be the work of Stephanie Mateczun and seems to be her way of punishing the remainder of the Buffalo Jills along with Bills fans everywhere. This is a move that did not have to happen and could also be a way of preventing any further damage to her company in the lawsuit. If operations continued then they would have to pay all Buffalo Jills an honest and fair wage and that is something that is apparently not an option.
There are some very serious allegations in this lawsuit, and if they are true then Stephanie Mateczun deserves to lose everything she owns for her unethical and flat out disgusting business practices. Same goes for Citadel Communications as they are the ones that started this mess. The Buffalo Bills would be wise to keep closer tabs on all of their operations regardless of whether they are actively managing them or not. Finding out that cheerleaders that work for a team that is worth close to a billion dollars are practically unpaid slaves is completely reprehensible. The right thing to do is to stop denying to comment, break your lease with Stejon Production, get the Jills back on the field and make this thing right.