Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Re(3): Strike flyer

Posted on March 28, 2005 at 01:47:33 PM by IJAPA 1988

Mark and Crab, I just read your posts and I would like to add something else here. Most people wouldn't know this, but IJAPA's first president was James from Hartford (he played there for years and also a year in Newport). He decided that he didn't want to continue striking with us, and he crossed the picket line in Hartford. I wasn't in agreement with his decision, but I respected him for his choice. NOONE was forced to go on strike. Soon after, we players voted for a new IJAPA president and we voted for Riki Lasa. What can I tell you about Lasa? Some people loved him, some despised him. I personally hold great respect for him. He was tough with the fronton owners and management. He had to be because they would have walked all over us if we didn't have someone like Riki at the head of the pack. Was he perfect? No, but he was the right person to make waves when it came to negotiations with the management! I mentioned to you earlier about fans believing that we went on strike for salary negotiations. Again, that is absolutely false. I thought that I was making fairly good money at the time for a rookie, and believe me, the 'superstars' (like Remen, Uriarte, James, and Alberdi etc.) were making very good money. Do you think that we enjoyed going on strike? I lost three crucial developmental years of my Jai Alai career and the 'superstars' lost a lot, too. Riki, besides being president of IJAPA, lost many good years as a player fighting for better working conditions and job security for all of us and the future generations of players that would come to the States to play professionally, and the Americans, too! The final statement is this, we had no choice but to a) bend over and take it up the rear end by accepting what the management offered us (in other words, many of us would have been sent home and the American players would also have been fired) or b) go by the rule 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' and fight to the death. B was the way to go for us, there was no turning back. Like I said before, I don't regret anything I did.

By the way, the strike didn't happen overnight. We confronted the management many times about the working environment many times, and all they did was laugh in our faces and threaten us.

Thanks for your support, I really appreciate the fact that you never disrespected the players.


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