When Alyssa first joined the Buffalo Bills cheerleader team she had no idea that being humiliated was part of the job description. Known as the Buffalo Jills, the cheerleaders were not only required to do jumping jacks in order to see if flesh jiggled, but they were forced to attend events held for sponsors where they were given tips for doing back flips in bikinis.
If being humiliated regularly wasn't bad enough, the Buffalo Jills had to attend hundreds of hours of work and practices without ever receiving a dime of compensation. Each girl even had to fork over $650 of her own money to pay for her uniforms. For a team that makes over $200 million a year, it's no surprise that Alyssa and two other Jills sued the Bills back in May for violating state minimum wage laws.
The cheerleaders only received a few small tips and occasional appearance fees. This amounted for some of the cheerleaders to between $0.13 and $o.50 cents an hour.
The idea that cheering on a professional team is a "privilege" not a "right" is slowly changing. You might recall another case that the Raiderettes brought against the Oakland Raiders. The team recently settled a lawsuit with the cheerleaders and agreeing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.
Tell us what you think. Do you think these girls should be paid for their time spent cheering? Or do you think the honor of getting to cheer in front of thousands of fans is payment enough?
*image by Angelina Earley, Flickr
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