Accord Paritaire Joint Agreement
34“I’d much rather my guys have health insurance before we spend the money for a professional license. Cycling isn’t going to grow if licensed teams aren’t taking proper care of their riders. The riders will suffer. It’s not even healthy. The priorities in the sport are back-asswards.” Craig Dodson, Elite Cyclist, on his new pro development team’s commitment to benefits
An unmerciful irony is the number of elite and professional bike racers who are rolling billboards for health insurance and health-related sponsors, who are themselves uninsured and unable to have proper health care. This is an injustice that needs to be rectified. A reformist would know which channels to petition, but we start with this prayer. If an organization cannot afford to responsibly cover the health and accident related hazards of the work of their representatives, then appropriate licensing to race in certain categories may be reconsidered. The current system supports dismal prospects for financial resources by its chief users. Most riders are scrambling to make their 35Annual Twelve just to keep racing. A pro in this position must rely on others to supplement their incomes. Regardless of the liberalization of gender roles, it’s hard on a male psyche to not feel like a breadwinner or worse like a drain on his wife. Likewise, female cyclists sometimes make poor choices for cohabitation or compromise integrity to gain the resources necessary to keep racing. This may crumble emotional support and a cumulative spiral toward poor performance begins, which is another tempting ground for drug use. We applaud a basis for anti-doping incentives by licensing authorities that begins with built-in baseline budget requirements, covering costs for reasonable athlete salaries and compensation packages. Sponsors and others are reaping rewards from cycling exposure. The teams are providing a service. Many of these riders and staff are earning at most “tips” with no minimum wage.
“Woe to you…you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices…But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” 36Matthew 23:23
Prayer for Athletes Rights
We ask forgiveness for exploitation. We ask for redistribution of resources in tandem with healthy growth. We pray for reformists to arise who work with key organizations for changes that protect riders.
Ponder Am I directly or indirectly allowing exploitation in cycling? Affirm I am an agent for change. Watch your small but unique contribution for improvement add up to major reform.
34Conversations with Craig Dodson about his concept to properly provide for riders. Craig is focused on domestic pro development which has different considerations than euro-pro development; but even for American crit racing, he feels strongly that rider rights are a high priority. See this article also: “Richmond gets new pro cycling team,” Latest Cycling News, March 7, 2008 Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer www.cyclingnews.com
35Annual Twelve is the euphemism for the salary which shows you’ve “made it” as a pro in America. If you earn $1,000 a month, then at least you have money enough to eat and can continue racing. This assumes a creative resourcefulness for a home base with little overhead and certainly no budget for “frills” like health insurance.
36The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society