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New York Jets reach settlement with cheerleaders over wages

As we discussed in our last post, many individuals dream of getting to work in a glamorous field such as the film industry or the music industry. While the lifestyle seems amazing and something to envy, many may not realize the true situation that some of these workers are in.

For example, it may seem very exciting to be an NFL cheerleader. You get to perform in front of thousands of fans, be on television, and participate in photo shoots and other publicity events. But the real question is, at what cost?

A recently lawsuit highlights the sad reality that exists for these cheerleaders in terms of wages. The New York Jets cheerleaders, known as the Flight Crew, each receive $150 for every game and $100 for any special events they participate in. While at first glance this may not seem too bad, it’s important to remember that the cheerleaders do not get paid for the time they spend rehearsing and for their weekly practices.

If you look at how much they earn in relation to how many hours they put into their work, the pay is actually below minimum wage, argues a lawyer who represented the cheerleader who brought the class-action lawsuit. If you take all work hours into account, the women actually make $3.77 an hour. If you also factor in things like the cost of makeup, transportation and hair styling, the rate drops to $1.50 per hour.

Recently, the class-action lawsuit was settled for $325,000. In the settlement, each of the 52 cheerleaders will get $2,500 per every season they worked within the two-year span that the lawsuit covers. On top of that, each woman may get up to $400 for any photo shoot she participated in.

This may seem like a rare case, but the issue has actually been widespread. At least four other NFL teams have been sued for similar reasons by their cheerleaders.

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