The labor dispute between the National Football League and its players is at least partially in line with the recent contract demands of the nation's other major entertainment unions.
Outside the entertainment industry, however, there is very little to link the contract proposals of the players association with the demands of the rest of the nation's trade unions.
By demanding a percentage of the overall television receipts, the National Football League Players Association essentially is following the pattern set two years ago by the Screen Actors Guild. After a lengthy strike against the television and motion picture industries in the summer of 1980, the actors union won a percentage of the gross income from the distribution of films used both by pay television and in home video discs and cassettes.
The union members receive 4.5 percent of the gross distribution income, in addition to other benefits from the filmmaking industries.
"We operated on the principle that the creative people are really entitled to some percentage of the gross," a spokeswoman for the screen actors said this week.
Since then, the pattern has been extended to both the writers and directors in the film industry. Other entertainment unions representing musicians and television and radio artists also receive some form of percentage payment for their performances.
This is the basic concept behind the players association's demand for 50 percent of the NFL's television revenues -- the centerpiece of the union's contract proposal. If the owners agree to any form of television revenue-sharing, the union will have established a precedent against the time when, as many people believe, pro football becomes the exclusive product of cable television.
But while the players' demands for a percentage of the gate are typical of the entertainment industry, the rest of the union's demands are not at all typical. Unlike most other entertainment unions -- including the baseball players union -- the NFL Players Association appears bent on ridding football of player agents.
It is no secret that the football union and Ed Garvey, its executive director, have little use for player agents in the industry. Perhaps the best indication of this is the union's original demand for 55 percent of the NFL's gross income. Had the union won this demand, it basically would have assured the players association absolute control over player compensation. There would be very little need for agents under such circumstances. The players have since dropped the 55 percent demand.
Even the entertainment unions that won a percentage of the television receipts have opted to keep agents as an integral pert of the labor system. "We establish the industry minimums and the stars can negotiate above that," the screens actors spokeswoman said. This essentially is the system the football owners want to maintain.
Instead, the union is seeking a $1.6 billion package over four years that, in addition to the demand for a share of television revenues, would provide minimums ranging from $81,000 to $200,000 a year plus a wage scale.
The owners have responded with a $1.6 billion offer over five years that provides no percentage of television revenues, lower minimum salaries and no wage scales. In place of the wage scales, the owners want to continue individual salary negotiations.