Wednesday, May 13

The Caddie Suit That Might Cost PGA Tour Plenty

EARLIER THIS YEAR A GROUP of 80-plus caddies sued the PGA Tour for fees associated with caddie bibs. The caddies are required to wear bibs that include advertising but receive none of the money. Mainly, the caddies want a sliver of the pie for health insurance and retirement. (Caddies are employed by PGA Tour players rather than the tour itself.)

Caddie bibs sparked a $50 million lawsuit.
Golf World's Ron Sirak updated the caddies' crusade in a feature titled "Why They're Carrying On" that published Monday.
James Edmondson, who caddies for Ryan Palmer and is president of the [Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC)], created the organization in 2013. In its first meeting with the tour, in February 2014 at the Farmers Insurance Open, the APTC raised workplace issues such as parking, quality of food and simply having a place to clean up after a round. Things went reasonably well until the discussion turned to the bibs. 
"We said we wanted a small part of the bib for advertising to generate money to fund health care and a pension program," [Kenny] Harms says. According to Harms, Andy Pazder, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, told the caddies: "You have no right to the bib."
Sirak reported that the PGA Tour currently provides a $2,000 healthcare stipend for tour caddies who work a minimum of 15 events. That's better than nothing, but not nearly enough according to Harms.
"There are about 195 caddies who qualify for the stipend. We asked for $10,000 per caddie for health care and another $10,000 per caddie for a pension plan. That's about $4 million a year all in."
More than 80 caddies were initially named in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco. Now that number has more than doubled. They include Mike Hicks, Kenny Harms (Kevin Na), Paul Tesori (Webb Simpson), Jimmy Johnson (Steve Stricker), Damon Green (Zach Johnson) and James Edmondson (Ryan Palmer).

Sirak concluded:
The tour could give the APTC the $4 million a year it wants or potentially risk losing $50 million in court. The tour took the [Casey] Martin situation all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before losing a costly battle both financially and in terms of its image.
The question is: Does it want to go down that road again?


stroke saver said...

Caddies for the most part make more than the average American. That being said being required to pony up 10 grand for health insurance is crazy. Also the fact that having to pay for a bib and receive none of the benefits also makes no sense. I think the boys at the top, i.e. PGA Tour need to give up some of their cush salaries and better support the men carrying the bags and enabling the stars to perform at their best.

Anonymous said...

What about Wal-Mart employees or those guys on the sidelines at football games, guys selling beer at baseball games - they all wear bibs and none of them get a piece of the action. Everybody knows being a caddie isn't a real job, quite your whining or find real work. Pathetic.