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Venting already...


BLWizzRanger

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This is more of a vent than anything else.  Maybe someone could learn something from this escapade and not get into this situation.  Not all of the details will be listed but you will get the drift.  Some facts here will be a 'told you so' and I have heard them, but, it is what it is.  

I worked a double header solo for a college scrimmage in Fall Ball that I still haven't gotten paid for yet.  I could get into bad details of the game but that really isn't part of my vent.  The payment process is my main vent.  But, a little background was that I was called late and accepted the game.  Got there and started working in the top of the 7th for the first game. Hence, it was in good faith that everything would work out with payment.  And, hopefully, they will.

Over the past three months, there was no movement in paying until I stuck my nose into it and even then I was stonewalled.  Until I bugged my assigner enough and the college that I started seeing movement. 

The first big movement was me submitting a W-9 unsolicited to the college in December. I mainly did that due to keeping communications open.  The school reached out to me in early January after calling them and telling my assigner that there was no movement yet.  The school had me sign an 'agreement' for payment.  This hit a snag a week later since I was a independent contractor - not under any umpire organization - for the game and I didn't have insurance.  I corrected them and sent them my RefQuest policy statement.  They came back saying they needed to be named under the 'Additionally Insured' area. (you know, if it is three months after the fact and they aren't going to get sued, this is a technicality, bend some rules and just make the payment).

So today, since the school's bean counters wasn't moving on a technicality on not being named 'Additionally Insured' for a game three months past, I had to call RefQuest's policy holder, to ask for the school to be added.  The policy holder, who has been the most helpful, stated that with RefQuest's policy, I am already seen as 'Additionally Insured' and they can't add another 'Additionally Insured' on the policy directed by an 'Additionally Insured.'  Mind boggling, isnt it?

So, as it stands, the policy holder is calling the school on my behalf to get things straightened out.  We will see where it goes from here.

The school should have been more forthcoming on the paperwork requirements within the first two weeks week after the game. There is no excuse for them not doing so.  I really don't know what else my assigner could have done either to help this.  I shouldn't let him off the hook because I don't think the his help was vigorous enough, but, with me contacting them starting in December and now we are at the end of January, there was ample amount of time around the holidays to sort this out, with or without his help.  And that falls on the school, in my opinion. 

Anyways, it is what it is.  Stand up for yourselves mates.  Only you can fight the hardest for you.  Now, lets start the season already.

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Added vent . . . If the assignor sent you, HE needs to get this cleared up and he needs to have done so months ago.

I am on the verge of turning back almost all of my high school spring season because I have had enough of assignors.  I know this is different in every area, so YMMV . . . 

If YOU want THE JOB of getting to decide if I can umpire or not, then you get THE JOB of taking care of all of it.  You make sure I get paid.  You make sure the game is covered when something happens and I cannot make it.  You make the rounds and check on the people you are assigning.  You provide coaching, feedback, and training.

Sorry, sore subject at the moment.  After all these years, a few of the folks in our area decided they should be controlling all of the games.  When I started, we had very few schools using assignors (and most of those were only assigning to cherry pick).  At the moment, I'm estimating 95% are.  This was OK when there were 3 or 4 assignors handling a handful of schools each.  However, they got together with the association and decided they would give up their schools to each other, but then have sole control over a particular sport.

I did not have a volleyball license this season because I did not make it to a clinic (the one I was headed to, I had to skip due to my son taking my car up against a deer).  I made this known to the volleyball assignor.  He still assigned me to games.  I reminded him after he went ahead and assigned me.  I reminded him last week.  Tuesday night, I get a phone call from the principal at a local school.  "The assignor has you listed as one of our referees tonight."  I apologize to her and let her know the assignor was made aware a number of times that I do not have a volleyball license this year and am not working games.  "Oh, I guess that wasn't communicated to us."  I guess not.

Thursday night, my phone rings.  Another school, the same SH*#e.  What pisses me off is that they will continue to hire him to assign, but MY NAME is the one that looks bad.  (This guy has a long history of not showing up himself, not assigning people, double-booking, etc.)

I have been kicking around the idea of calling the softball and baseball assignors and telling me to take me off of everything if this is how the association is going to monopolize control.  I had said my batteries weren't recharging as fast as usual, and this has further put me off.

 

Curious . . . thanks to all the techbro shenanigans with the "app services," there have been some interesting new rulings handed down on "independent contractor" status vs "employee" status.  I'm wondering how this could affect the assignor situation.  I am not an independent contractor if I can only work when YOU tell me I can.  I am your employee.

 

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Funny, as an independent contractor my assigner really really wants to "assign" my cash games. Oh yeah, then he gets a cut...nope.

Have even heard the bs that insurance only covers assigned games.  Nope, no such restriction on NASO insurance. 

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Well, there is that as well.  The contract that I signed was 25% more than what the assignor told me they would pay me.  If I read between the lines, the 25% was his take - I don't know that definitively - but, I never mentioned to the school what I was promised. Where did they come up with that amount?

I am curious what would have happened if I didn't have collegiate insurance.  If I turned around and got NASO insurance (which I will next year) today, how ethical would that be to name that as coverage when it wasn't in effect the day of the game three months past? Wouldn't that be worse than bending the rules and paying for services done? Chances are that I am SOL if I didn't prove I had insurance.

I don't know what I will do if they come down that I can't be paid.  I guess speak the AD first and block them of course, but if the assigner has our backs and be all 'union like,' that is when the Assigner should refuse to assign any games to this college until payment, IMHO.

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15 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Curious . . . thanks to all the techbro shenanigans with the "app services," there have been some interesting new rulings handed down on "independent contractor" status vs "employee" status.  I'm wondering how this could affect the assignor situation.  I am not an independent contractor if I can only work when YOU tell me I can.  I am your employee.

Venturing close to OT territory here, so my apologies.

The IRS says an individual is an independent contractor "...if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done...[but not] if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed." (source:  IRS [dot] gov)

Seems to me our associations are getting awfully close to not meeting the IRS definition of an independent contractor.

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3 hours ago, 834k3r said:

Seems to me our associations are getting awfully close to not meeting the IRS definition of an independent contractor.

Here in California, with the passing of AB5, we absolutely do not meet the definition of an independent contractor.

They're going to catch up to us sooner rather than later, at least in California. That's going to change the landscape of these associations.

We are absolutely employees of these associations, and should be treated as such. In another thread here, I mentioned that I am acting as an independent contractor to my HS and adult baseball associations. I have told them my rate of pay and working conditions. If they want to honor that, they can hire me, if they don't, then I don't work for them. It's the same way I run my contracting business. 

If you want the industry to change, start setting your rate of pay. If they don't want to honor that, then don't work. They'll get the message real quick and things will start to change. We're going to have to force the change, and not working games is the closest thing to a picket line we can get.

How many of you are willing to do that, versus complaining and still capitulating to these associations horrible business practices?

How's that working out for you?

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I have always thought this "independent contractor" status was sus and simply a tax loophole to get the associations out of managing us as proper employees and all the legalities associated with that. If I was truly an independent contractor then I would be contracting directly with the schools or I would be contracting directly with the association. I would have an opportunity to bid on the games in terms of the fee I would accept. I have a good relationships with my assignors. I do all the things we are supposed to do given how the system is structured to cultivate their favor and I am thankful for the heavy lifting they do. My market is so target rich that if I am open in Arbiter from March - November, I am getting a game. Mine is not the typical case as you guys have illustrated above and throughout this forum.

~Dawg 

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https://www.natlawreview.com/article/more-employees-new-rule-makes-it-harder-classify-workers-independent-contractors

The Final Rule:

The Final Rule reverses the 2021 IC Rule and reinstitutes the traditional six factor test used by courts. The Final Rule sets forth the following six factors:

  1. Opportunity for profit or loss depending on managerial skill. This factor considers the following facts, among others: whether the worker determines or negotiates pay for the work; whether the worker accepts or declines jobs or chooses the order or time in which the jobs are performed; whether the worker engages in marketing, advertising or other efforts to secure more work; and whether the worker makes decisions to hire others, purchase materials or rent space. A “yes” for each suggests the worker is an independent contractor. 
  2. Investments by the worker and the potential employer. This factor considers whether the worker makes investments. The DOL states, “if the worker is making similar types of investments as the employer or investments of the type that allow the worker to operate independently in the worker’s industry or field,” then that suggests the worker is an independent contractor.
  3. Degree of permanence of the work relationship. If the working relationship is definite in duration, non-exclusive, project based or sporadic, then that suggests the worker is an independent contractor—unless the lack of permanence is due to characteristics that are unique to the particular business or industry and the workers they employ.
  4. Nature and degree of control. This factor considers the employer’s control over the worker, which includes, in part, whether the employer sets the worker’s schedule, supervises the performance of the work or explicitly limits the worker’s ability to work for others. Less control over the worker suggests the worker is an independent contractor.
  5. Extent to which the work performed is an integral part of the potential employer’s business. This factor focuses on whether the work performed, not the individual worker, is important or “central” to the employer’s business. If the work performed is not important, necessary or central to the employer’s business, then this factor weighs in favor of the worker being an independent contractor. (Commentators note the Final Rule’s change to this factor means this factor will almost always weigh in favor of finding the worker is an employee.)
  6. Skill and initiative. This factor considers whether the worker uses specialized skills to perform the work and whether those skills contribute to business-like initiative. Importantly here, if the worker depends on the employer for training, that is indicative of employee status.

The DOL emphasized that all six factors must be applied equally, with no factor given more weight than others.

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As many of you know, I've been in HR for the past 25+ years and I've been following the contractor/ employee DOL rulings and was thinking about this in terms of umpiring. 

***Everything below is my opinion based on my extensive HR experience and not intended to be legal advice or the word of the Lord.
Also not intended to be political***

@JonnyCat you and your fellow California absolutely are not ICs under AB5. So I would be very concerned as both an assigning body and the official about what the repercussions will be. 

But watch out the rest of the country the PRO Act is gaining traction in congress which is essentially the same thing at a national level.

For the DOL's latest interpretation posted by @The Man in Blue

  1. Very close for umpires. We can supposedly turn back assignments without repercussion. We can in large part determine our own pay by selecting which groups we elect to work for. We do engage in efforts to secure more work by attending camps and clinics, reaching out to other organizations to gain work. 
  2. Investments - We're ICs. We buy our own equipment pay for camps/ clinics on our own 
  3. Permanence of relationship- Close but I think IC. It is non exclusive and sporadic we can work for as many groups as we choose. The permanence side leads to employees. While the work is generally seasonal it is seasonal every year.
  4. This gets interesting. It is probably 50/50. Associations we work for generally evaluate us and based on these evaluations they give us greater work at greater responsibility. So there is a bit of supervision on their part. But we set our own availability. In Arbiter I'd block out one group to be more available for another that ability leads me to IC.
    -- Also not mentioned in the post above but historically uniforms are considered a form of control for employee contractor relationships
  5. Integral to the business- Absolutely an employee. There are no officials associations, Athletic districts, conferences or any other body we work for without officials. 
  6. Skill & Training. This goes both ways. We take initiative and go to non-required training camps & clinics voluntarily for our own betterment, this leans IC. But also we are required to attend various training for our assigning groups - this makes employees. 

As you can see (based off of my opinion) this makes it a gray area. Based on the above I'd say we're still ICs, but this could vary based on the political direction of where you are.

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4 hours ago, noumpere said:

Several suits here over the years, and people claiming unemployment, etc.  It's always been resolved as "IC."

 

YMMV.

Is that in your state, or what you have seen has happened?

Interestingly enough, here in California, SB5 was born out of a lawsuit "Dynamex vs Superior Court". Dynamex was a subcontractor for Office Depot that did deliveries. A real good friend of mine had a route for Dynamex and was part of that suit. He leased a truck with the Office Depot logo plastered all over it and basically only could deliver for Office Depot. He was completely an employee, but was classified as an IC. He ended up getting a substantial settlement check.

I believe there was/is a similar lawsuit involving Fedex.

I think with these lawsuits, with the adoption of SB5 in California, and the FMCSA tightening up truck drivers classified as IC's, it's only a matter of time before many are re-classified as employees across a wide number of industries.

 

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12 hours ago, Umpire in Chief said:

 

  1. Very close for umpires. We can supposedly turn back assignments without repercussion. We can in large part determine our own pay by selecting which groups we elect to work for. We do engage in efforts to secure more work by attending camps and clinics, reaching out to other organizations to gain work. 

 

I think I disagree with that bolded part for the very reasons mentioned in this thread.  Simply turning away work is NOT negotiating or setting our own prices.  It is leverage, but only if everybody does it.  (We have shown that will not happen in the "one-man band" discussions.)

I may be parsing what you said, but you used the word "pay" instead of "price."  If you use that word, it is true that the more you work, the more you make, and the less you work, the less you make.  However that is controlling volume, not setting your own rate.  

I won't say I haven't successfully negotiated a contract for umpiring, but it is typically only when somebody is broke-arse desperate and they start wiggling with some gas money, travel money, etc.  General rule, 99.9% of the time, we cannot negotiate our own rates.  This becomes overly true when you work for an assignor who says, "This is what they are paying."

12 hours ago, Umpire in Chief said:

 

Permanence of relationship- Close but I think IC. It is non exclusive and sporadic we can work for as many groups as we choose. The permanence side leads to employees. While the work is generally seasonal it is seasonal every year.

And ^THAT^ bolded point is going to get some associations and some assignors in trouble down the road.  I have listed to plenty of assignors, including a former State UIC for USA Softball, tell people, "If you work for them, you will never work for me."  Theoretically it is non-exclusive.

I've long said, we are independent contractors to them when it is convenient.  The rest of the time, not so much.

 

An added point that I am curious about, but don't recall seeing anything on.  Does the ability to purchase supplies freely have any effect?  Specifically, if I can ONLY purchase the uniform from the organization, does that change anything in the relationship?  I can no longer use that freely, but only in work for that organization.

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On 2/2/2024 at 7:58 PM, The Man in Blue said:

"If you work for them, you will never work for me."

Welcome to Phoenix, AZ. The environment here is likened to Hatfields & McCoys, Jets & Sharks, Crips & Bloods... It is further complicated by only two entities of collegiate baseball – NAIA and NJCAA – being present here in the area. It is further complicated by inferred impingement upon "territory" by doing scrimmages, events, Fantasy Camps, etc., or being called in because no other "anointed" umpires are available. 

I chose the Vulture name appropriately; we are independent. Period. 

On 2/2/2024 at 7:52 AM, Umpire in Chief said:

Also not mentioned in the post above but historically uniforms are considered a form of control for employee contractor relationships

Uniforms?! As a form of control??! :rollinglaugh:You don't say! </sarcasm> Look, if you (the "boss") are going to tell me which shirt to wear (style / color / etc.), then you better be providing them, either actually and physically, or supplying me with a stipend for the purposes of purchasing said shirt. 

... or jacket. (Anyone else out here in the West experiencing this fiasco?) 

Now, I get where Associations and Assigning Entities (AEs, forthwith) are coming from... the expense to provide those uniforms is substantial, only for umpires to either not work, or (worse, actually) wear the uniforms you provided on someone or something else's games! That ain't right. Several associations and AEs I know get around this by providing patches (and/or hats, sometimes), and mandating that the patches must be worn when working sanctioned games. To me, having been in this for 15 years, and been working across the country, this is a compact I can agree to. 

... but if I have to have a certain brand of umpire pant so as to work ________________ games, and you're not footing the bill for them for me? F*¢k that, ain't happening. 

Uniforms is just the entry point, guys! If we're employees, then they've gotta provide all the other components (I won't say benefits) of employment. Healthcare and Insurance, anyone? 

On 1/31/2024 at 4:52 PM, The Man in Blue said:

due to my son taking my car up against a deer

Which won? Car or deer?

On 2/1/2024 at 12:18 PM, JonnyCat said:

I mentioned that I am acting as an independent contractor to my HS and adult baseball associations. I have told them my rate of pay and working conditions. If they want to honor that, they can hire me, if they don't, then I don't work for them. It's the same way I run my contracting business. 

If you want the industry to change, start setting your rate of pay.

This cannot be done with sanctioned HS and/or College games. Scrimmages and hosted events (try-outs, practices, local-celebrity, local-charity, etc.) can and should be negotiated and agreed-to rate of compensation, but anything involving State, Conference, or National oversight must and is adherent to an established rate for all sanctioned games. The key reason is (economic) fairness for all schools, regardless of enrollment or prestige. A game between two Class 1 schools from Rolling Hills and Broad Plains pays exactly the same as a game between Class 6 Metropolis and Central City, no more, no less. The schools cannot incentivize the officiating of their game in any monetary way. 

The same can be said for college. In this case, the conferences set the rate, agreed to by the member schools. Again, that rate cannot change during the season, nor on an individual level. Every game must pay the same. 

Where the friction arises regarding "college" is for scrimmages and invitationals (AKA "friendlies"). Payment for those comes out of the team's or athletic department's budget. And in (nearly every) college, they have to account for every single dollar spent. Depending on that fund, and who/how it is managed, a coach or staffer may pay you (the umpire) cash, or an ambiguous check already ascribed an amount, with your name filled in while you're there at venue. The most tedious and patience-taxing method is payment by the AD's accountant. That is where most of the grief arises, and it all has to do with "compliance". 

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7 hours ago, MadMax said:

This cannot be done with sanctioned HS and/or College games.

Yes, it can. If all of us idiots would stop working games for poverty wages, then these entities would have no choice but to increase the rate of pay, and change their business practices. We can wish all we want that things will change, but yet we do nothing about it, continue to complain about it, and still accept the games with SH*#ty pay and lousy working conditions.

I'm either an IC, or an employee. If I'm an IC, then I'll set my rate of pay. If they set the rate of pay, then I'm an employee, and they can cover all costs associated with having employees.

This crap has got to stop. Stop letting these entities treat you like SH*#. I'd rather work SH*#ty LL games for no money, at least that is an actual hobby for me. But paid games? No F*#King way, I'm tired of being taken advantage of. If they want me to work games, they'll pay me what I want. If not, I got a million other things I'm happy to do.

Where are all the umpires?

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On 2/6/2024 at 7:38 PM, JonnyCat said:

Yes, it can. If all of us idiots would stop working games for poverty wages, then these entities would have no choice but to increase the rate of pay, and change their business practices. We can wish all we want that things will change, but yet we do nothing about it, continue to complain about it, and still accept the games with SH*#ty pay and lousy working conditions.

I'm either an IC, or an employee. If I'm an IC, then I'll set my rate of pay. If they set the rate of pay, then I'm an employee, and they can cover all costs associated with having employees.

This crap has got to stop. Stop letting these entities treat you like SH*#. I'd rather work SH*#ty LL games for no money, at least that is an actual hobby for me. But paid games? No F*#King way, I'm tired of being taken advantage of. If they want me to work games, they'll pay me what I want. If not, I got a million other things I'm happy to do.

Where are all the umpires?

 

Jonny, in theory I would agree with you.

But in reality, "all of us idiots" won't do it.  You ask where are all the umpires, and I will say many of them are out proving this won't work because they were offered an extra $10 to work solo.

In grammatical terms, simply refusing to accept a price in hopes it will be raised is NOT negotiating.  It is "take it or leave it" and hoping the supply/demand curve moves in your favor.  Negotiating is "I am a better umpire than Bubba Joe over there, so my rate is $20 more than his.  OK, fine, I'll cut you a deal and knock $10 off of that, but I want three games guaranteed at that rate.  I require a 50% retainer for blocking the date regardless of whether or not the game gets played because I am passing up other opportunities."

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18 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

Sorry . . . $15.

Received an e-mail from a local summer league today.  13u is the oldest they host.  $60/game . . . $75/game if you work solo.  Most of their games will end up filled by a solo umpire and not out of necessity.

Okay, that ticks me off.  Not at you TMIB, but at these umpires that would rather make $15 more than force the assignor/tournament/etc to pay for a second umpire. 

I don't care what anyone thinks, you are not that good of an umpire to cover an entire field by yourself - you will miss something somewhere!  We should never work without a partner, unless absolutely unable to find one, and even then I'd rather see a game rescheduled than work solo.  You need backup and that $15 ain't going to do nothing for you when some crazy coach or parent loses it and goes off on you.

I would rather NOT work than work solo.  Find me a partner or reschedule the game is how I honestly feel.  I was working Varsity games solo at one point last season - and I did it out of necessity - but I'd gladly have given up $30 to have a partner out there with me. 

My fellow umpires, let's do our very best to NEVER work solo unless there is a legit reason that a partner can not be found.  Let it never be because we make a few extra bucks. These teams and tourneys are making cash, so make them spend a little of it on two umpires.  If they are serious about having a real tournament and they care about their reputation as a great tourney, then they need to be serious about getting the best officiating that they can - which means having two umpires for every game!

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3 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

Okay, that ticks me off.  Not at you TMIB, but at these umpires that would rather make $15 more than force the assignor/tournament/etc to pay for a second umpire. 

I don't care what anyone thinks, you are not that good of an umpire to cover an entire field by yourself - you will miss something somewhere!  We should never work without a partner, unless absolutely unable to find one, and even then I'd rather see a game rescheduled than work solo.  You need backup and that $15 ain't going to do nothing for you when some crazy coach or parent loses it and goes off on you.

I would rather NOT work than work solo.  Find me a partner or reschedule the game is how I honestly feel.  I was working Varsity games solo at one point last season - and I did it out of necessity - but I'd gladly have given up $30 to have a partner out there with me. 

My fellow umpires, let's do our very best to NEVER work solo unless there is a legit reason that a partner can not be found.  Let it never be because we make a few extra bucks. These teams and tourneys are making cash, so make them spend a little of it on two umpires.  If they are serious about having a real tournament and they care about their reputation as a great tourney, then they need to be serious about getting the best officiating that they can - which means having two umpires for every game!

Remember, the teams don't care if they have one or four umpires. They just want to play so they'll play & yell at one so they can play. 

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In addition to baseball, I also work Water Polo, mainly HS, but some club as well. Of the 300 or games I have worked in the past 2 years, only 1 was solo, and that is because the assignor forgot to pull the other assigned referee who told him he needed to turn back the game which meant the slot never was backfilled. Basically a complete one off event.

We always have 2 officials assigned, unless the game is 10u which is played in a really small pool. Anything higher receives 2 referees, period. So for HS, 2 referees, 70 a game for varsity ($50/game for tournaments, but you get 3-5 games), which lasts 45-60 minutes, requires almost no equipment (white shoes/pants/shirt) other than white clothing, a whistle and a yellow/red card. Club pays anywhere from $35-$45 a game, less time typically per game (35-45 minutes) and always 2 people.

Why can water polo always have 2 but baseball thinks it is too much to pay for 2 people for what is typically a 2-2.5 hour commitment?

 

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