LHSAA, referees stand off over pay raises before 2015 football season

LHSAA, referees standoff over pay raises before 2015 football season

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A rift over how much money Louisiana referees make has the threat of a strike hanging over football stadiums across the state.

Both sides are standing their ground, but now the discussions are coming down to the wire.

When asked if the referees were prepared to strike this fall if they are unable to get a raise, Vice President of Louisiana High School Officials Association, Dr. John Fletcher, said "for lack of a better term, yes."

The LHSOA is threatening to not show up at the games, as the state's high school referee organization is calling for a pay raise once again.

"We are not going to officiate without a contract," said Fletcher.

In 2014, volleyball and basketball referees were promised pay raises by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. But in January, that promise was overturned by the general membership.

Now, all the referees want to see bigger pay checks.

"I won't sleep until I get this process healed," said LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine.

Bonine will be meeting with the ref organization on Sunday in attempts to negotiate a deal.

"I think we'll figure out a way to get this done," said Bonine.

"He can promise us the moon Sunday, and unless that's voted on by their general membership, I don't think it carries much weight," said Fletcher.

The general membership is the made up of high school principals across the state and it doesn't meet until January.

"We just need to make sure that what we do and how we work through it, misled or not, that we get kids get kids on the fields and participating on the gym floors," said Bonine.

"If it was about the kids they would have voted for the $5 raise in January," said Fletcher.

The referees are also asking for a role at the negotiating table with the LHSAA hoping to prevent these sort of stand-offs again in the future.

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