11 March 2011

NFL Labor Action Heats Up

Professional football players look likely to go on strike, for the first time since 1987, in the wake of the NFL players' union's decertification this afternoon.

After 16 days of mediated talks with the NFL, the sides could not reach agreement on a new deal. The current one expires at the end of Friday, and the league could lock out its players.

By decertifying, the union clears the way for individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL, which opted out of the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] CBA in 2008. It renounced its right to represent the players in contract bargaining.

The CBA was due to expire a week ago and was extended twice.

The union's latest move sets the stage for a lengthy court fight that could potentially threaten the 2011 season. . . . In 1989, the NFLPA also decertified. Antitrust lawsuits by players forced a new CBA in 1993 that included free agency, and the union formed again that year. . . .

"The parties have not achieved an overall agreement," federal mediator George Cohen said, "nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held competing positions that separated them on core issues.

From here

The steps in the dance are unfamiliar to people who aren't labor lawyers, but the bottom line that negotiations have broken down and that professional football won't resume until a deal is reached, seems pretty clear.

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