Monday, August 15, 2011

A Superhero Lockout

Thank you for tuning into Gotham Live, I'm Summer Gleeson. We will soon take you live to city hall, where Commissioner Gordon is expected to address the ongoing labor negotiations between the Justice League and its superheroes.

It's widely expected that Commissioner Gordon will announce a lockout of the superheroes after last-minute talks reportedly failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement. A prolonged lockout would mean that the 2011 season could be cancelled. Can one of crime-fighting's most popular leagues afford to alienate its fans? That question will continue to linger well after today's press conference.

Commissioner Gordon has just taken the podium. Let's take you there now live.

Commissioner Gordon:
"As you know, the League and its superheroes have been engaged in intense talks to ensure that the 2011 crime-fighting season is not disrupted. This was our top priority ever since the most recent collective bargaining agreement between the heroes and the League expired earlier this year. However, with both sides still far apart on a number of key issues, we were left with no choice but to lock out the heroes until a new agreement can be reached.

"While the League is run primarily by the heroes, the average fan may not realize that officials such as myself are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the League. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to make sure we have a labor deal in place that will ensure the viability of the League for years to come.

"Until the lockout is resolved, the superheroes will be unable to meet at League facilities, and they must not have any contact with criminals.

"I'll now take your questions."

Reporter #1:
"Any comment on the heroes' threat to file a class-action lawsuit in response to the lockout?"

Gordon: "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any potential legal action brought by the heroes at this time. That's a road that we just don't want to go down, but unfortunately the heroes feel that's their only recourse. We are standing firm in our belief that a lockout is necessary."

Reporter #2:
"What have been the major sticking points in the negotiations?"

Gordon: "As I stated earlier, both sides are far apart on a number of key issues. Officials have expressed great interest in expanding the crime-fighting season by two weeks. The superheroes have resisted, despite assurances that they will not be at greater risk of injury if their schedule is expanded. An extended season would provide more revenue for the League, including the heroes. And fans have made it clear that they want to see more crime-fighting. They can't get enough of it. It is our duty to give the fans what they want.

"We also seek an age minimum on talent drafted by the League. Sometimes the younger talent are just not prepared for the rigors of a crime-fighting season. We believe they are better served in the first few years of their career honing their skills in a developmental league, with an organization such as the Teen Titans."

Reporter #3: "What about TV revenue?"

Gordon: "Yes, we are also struggling to reach a compromise on the distribution of revenue from networks that air League programming, as well as other projects featuring our heroes. It's no secret that we've generated a lot of money with our TV and movie contracts. We've made every effort to spread the wealth with the heroes. They're looking for more than we can afford to give them. We need that revenue to support and build the League, as well as to reconstruct the buildings they destroy when fighting the criminals."

Reporter #4: "Would you consider steroid testing for the heroes?"

Gordon: "Oh, no, no. That's not necessary. Our heroes are clean, no question about that. They're not like professional athletes who are passed off as 'heroes.' This isn't baseball, you know." (Laughter erupts in the room)

Reporter #5: "Can the League risk cancelling a season, thus giving criminals free license to rule the cities?"

Gordon: "It's a risk we're willing to take. These issues are far too important to ignore. Again, we want to ensure that the League not only continues to provide quality crime-fighting, but also remains financially viable. If it means cancelling the season, then that's something we'll have to deal with."

Reporter #6:
"Any concern that the heroes will jump to the competition?"

"That certainly is a possibility, but there's an intense rivalry between our League and the competition. They are successful in what they do, but we believe we are the best at what we do. We're not really concerned with them. We are America's league."

Reporter #7: "Don't you think the heroes are making some good points? I mean, the officials are being entirely unfair with their demands and putting the citizens in danger, no?"

Gordon: "Please sit down, Clark Kent. Thank you everyone."

Epilogue: After a lockout that stretched through most of the summer, League officials and the superheroes reached a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The heroes made their way to training camp soon afterward and participated in exhibition crime-fighting sessions. Once the season began, their were immediately tested when the Joker robbed three banks. The fans didn't mind; they were just happy that crime-fighting had resumed.