View Full Version : **Union decertifies after failing to reach labor deal with league**

03-11-2011, 04:35 PM
Union decertifies after failing to reach labor deal with league
By Jason La Canfora

Published: March 11, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2011 at 05:25 p.m

WASHINGTON -- The NFL Players Association announced Friday that it has renounced its status as the collective bargaining representative of the players after failing to reach a new labor deal with the league.

The NFLPA said it will become a professional trade association that supports the interests and rights of current and former players.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said at 4:45 p.m. ET -- 15 minutes before the deadline for the union to decertify -- that "significant differences" remained after the league's latest proposal.

Smith said the league must agree by 5 p.m. ET to provide 10 years of audited financial documents for the union to agree to a third extension of the CBA deadline.

The union had until that time to decertify. It said it has faxed the necessary paperwork to U.S. District Judge David Doty in Minnesota.

The NFL can impose a lockout of players, if it chooses, after 11:59 p.m. ET, when the CBA officially expires.


Union executive director DeMaurice Smith arrives at Friday's mediation session in Washington. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)
Before Friday's meeting, Smith told WJFK-AM that the union was looking for "the exchange of information so we can make a fair deal."

Under the about-to-expire CBA, owners receive an immediate $1 billion to go toward operating expenses before splitting remaining revenues with players.

Owners initially tried to add another $1 billion to that, and while they have lowered the up-front figure they want -- at least down to an additional $800 million, according to the union -- Smith has said it's still too much.

The NFL, meanwhile, said the union was offered unprecedented financial data, including some the league doesn't share with its teams.

The CBA originally was supposed to expire last week. The sides agreed to push that deadline to Friday.

The NFL hasn't lost games to a work stoppage since 1987, when a strike shortened the season and some games included nonunion replacement players.

The foundation of the current CBA was reached in 1993 by then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and union chief Gene Upshaw. It has been extended five times as annual revenues soared above $9 billion, the league expanded to 32 teams and new stadiums were built.

The 2006 contract extension was the final major act for Tagliabue, who then retired, succeeded by Roger Goodell. An opt-out clause for each side was included in that deal, and the owners exercised it in May 2008 -- three months before Upshaw died. Smith replaced Upshaw as union leader in March 2009.

Two months later, Smith wrote Goodell a letter, asking for detailed financial statements from each of the 32 teams and the league as a whole. The NFL offered to turn over other economic data this week, and the NFLPA rejected that proposal (http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d81ead445), calling the information "utterly meaningless."


Up yours Goodell.

03-11-2011, 04:44 PM
CNN just said the union walked out on talks and they are over...:noidea:

03-11-2011, 04:47 PM
CNN just said the union walked out on talks and they are over...:noidea:

Isn't that basically what the article says? Or am I missing something (honest question).

03-11-2011, 04:52 PM
In a statement, the NFLPA said it would "move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players."

The news came Friday afternoon following a contentious Thursday of verbal salvos between both sides during heated negotiations. Nine NFL owners on the league's executive committee as well as a slew of NFLPA executives and player representatives were among those who attended Friday's session at Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service headquarters in Washington.

Several legal proceedings are now set to follow, which could continue the impasse into the regular season.

"The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process," the NFL said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4 p.m. ET it had 'decertified' and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining."

Federal mediator George Cohen said both sides could not agree on "core issues" after 17 days of mediation.

"The union left a very good deal on the table," the NFL also said. "It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years)."

The players will now allow the CBA to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET. The maneuver will prevent the NFL from instituting a lockout and allow individual players to sue the league for antitrust violations under the auspices of David Doty, a U.S. district court judge with a lengthy history of favorable NFLPA rulings.

Multiple media reports claim that three star quarterbacks — Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — would be among those players who would participate in such a filing.

The NFL already has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that decertification would be a sham. The NFLPA decertified in the late 1980s so players could sue the NFL, an effective legal maneuver that led to a CBA agreement in 1993. The NFLPA later reformed.

The biggest issues that derailed negotiations were revenue sharing and the increased "expense credit" that the league is asking from the NFLPA to help cover escalating costs and stadium funding. The impasse resulted in federal mediator George Cohen asking both sides for two extensions last week that extended the CBA expiration deadline by seven days.

The NFL already receives $1 billion a year in expense credit before the remainder of the revenue is split between the league and its players union. The NFL generated $9.3 billion in 2010 revenue.

The league initially asked for another $1 billion in early CBA talks but was believed to have come down greatly from that request. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Wednesday that the asking price stood at $800 million, although NFL counsel and lead negotiator Jeff Pash disputed that claim on Thursday.

Smith had publicly balked at agreeing to any CBA deal until NFL owners "open their books" and provide more financial information about the league's 32 franchises. The NFL, which consists entirely of privately owned teams except for the Green Bay Packers, resisted doing so and claims the NFLPA already has sufficient data to consummate a CBA.

Brees, who was part of the NFLPA's negotiating contingent, expressed his frustration with NFL owners Friday morning on Twitter.

"They refuse to give that information to us," Brees wrote. "They think we should just trust them. Would you?"

The contentious stance also stems from Doty's recent court ruling that NFL owners conspired to create a $4 billion lockout "war chest" based upon payments from its television partners. The NFLPA had claimed that such an action violated the current CBA that calls for the NFL to maximize profits that will be split between the two parties.

Other major CBA issues that ultimately must be resolved include the NFL's request for an 18-game regular season — a change that Smith has publicly opposed — and rookie wage scale.


03-11-2011, 05:29 PM
Can we fire Roger Goodell now? He's been a total failure at everything. See

Atlanta Dan
03-11-2011, 05:44 PM
For those keeping score on the owners' brilliant legal strategy so far

Internal NFL documents and testimony from Goodell two months ago show that the owners knew early in 2008 that "in order for them to get a new labor deal that works for them, they need to be able to sustain a lockout, which requires financing and requires proper planning." Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told his fellow owners that they "needed to realistically assume they were locking out in 2011" to obtain a CBA that "worked for them."

The key words are "financing" and "planning." Both were immediately evident in actions the owners initiated to set up the lockout.

The financing of the lockout was to come from the five television networks that broadcast NFL games. According to the testimony and the documents now available in court in Minneapolis, NFL staff made prodigious efforts to renegotiate existing contracts and to obtain lockout clauses that require the networks to pay for games that would not be played during the lockout. It was a bold tactic that was made possible because of the enormous audiences that are drawn to NFL games. None of the five networks wanted to lose NFL games, and they agreed to provide what the players now call "lockout insurance" for the owners. When NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and other union leaders realized what the NFL was doing, they initiated a legal challenge to the lockout clauses. U.S. District Judge David Doty, who has presided over player-owner disputes in the NFL since 1989, ruled last week that the lockout clauses violate the owners' duty to obtain maximum revenue for the NFL and for the players....

The owners' planning was equally bold. The league and its lawyers knew the players had been highly successful in antitrust litigation against the owners in the past, as a series of cases led by the late union leader, Gene Upshaw, resulted in skyrocketing salaries, bonuses for players and free agency and vastly increased health and disability benefits. If a lockout was to succeed, the owners reasoned, they must do something about their exposure to antitrust liabilities. In a development that stunned lawyers, judges and law professors across the nation, the league and its attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case the NFL had already won, arguing for an expansion of the decision to a total exemption from antitrust scrutiny. If the league's strategy had been successful in American Needle Inc. v. NFL, it would have eliminated the most formidable weapon the players had in their quest for fair treatment from team owners.

But in a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court rejected the league's claim of immunity from antitrust laws. It was a humiliating end to an owner strategy that could have changed the entire landscape of sports labor. As a result, the league likely faces another antitrust lawsuit from the players in Doty's courtroom, which, based on their track record there, is the last place the owners want to be.


Good work Roger - to paraphrase Emperor Hirohito's statement as Japan circled the drain in 1945 ""the war has developed not necessarily to the owners advantage."