three cheers for equality

New York Jets Cheerleaders Win $324,000 Settlement Over Unpaid Work

Rah rah PAY US.
Rah rah PAY US. Photo: Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire/Corbis

Cheerleaders all over the country are standing up to the moneyed NFL franchises that overwork and underpay them. Lawsuits filed by former cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Buffalo Bills are all in the works, and over the summer, California passed a bill entitling professional cheerleaders to minimum wage. Now, the AP reports that the New York Jets have settled a class-action lawsuit with cheerleaders from the 2012 and 2013 season who say they were vastly underpaid.

The Jets cheerleaders were given only $150 per game, and weren’t paid for any practice time. According to the AP:

[Krystal] said their compensation did not include time spent learning cheerleader routines and practicing them. She said they were not reimbursed for expenses they incurred to conform to the image required of the cheerleading squad.

For example, all the cheerleaders were required to have straight hair, Pierce said. So Krystal, who has naturally curly hair, had to have hers straightened.

Pierce said the team did not pay for time and cost of travel to and from home games.

For reference: The New York Jets are worth $2.6 billion. They make $383 million a year, and their lowest-paid player makes $450,000 a year. And yet their cheerleaders were making $150 a game.

The Jets, of course, deny the cheerleaders’ claims and are settling the lawsuit to avoid going to court. Each member of the 2012 and 2013 teams will receive between $2,500 and $6,000. Now hopefully we can get that anti-cheerleader exploitation bill passed in New York.

NY Jets Cheerleaders Win $324,000 Settlement