Mediator says NFL, union make ‘some progress’

Published on February 25, 2011 by     Seahawk Fanatic

Just as many expected would happen all along, labor negotiations between the NFL and the players’ union are heading right down to the wire – and possibly beyond.

In the first real indication of what’s been going on behind closed doors, the federal mediator overseeing talks said Thursday the two sides made “some progress” during more than 40 hours spread over seven consecutive days of face-to-face meetings, but “very strong differences remain.”

The league and union will resume mediation Tuesday, less than 72 hours before the old collective bargaining agreement is set to expire. If there’s no new deal in place by the end of next Thursday, the union thinks owners will move to lock out players, threatening the 2011 season. The NFL has said, however, that the deadline could be extended.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, released a statement shortly before noon Thursday, his first public comments since he began working with Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and their negotiating teams last week.

“At bottom, some progress was made,” Cohen said, “but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties.”

While Cohen did not name those issues, the biggest sticking point all along has been how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues. Among the other significant topics in negotiations: a rookie wage scale; the owners’ push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games; and benefits for retired players.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the rest of the union’s negotiating team left the building at about 12:30 p.m., three hours after arriving. The NFL departed afterward.

“Just continue talking, man – that’s what we’re doing,” Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday said as he got into a car. “I think ownership – everybody – needs to know that we’re all committed to it and committed to getting something done.”

Members of both groups now head to Indianapolis for the NFL’s annual scouting combine for draft prospects; the league briefed general managers, coaches and other team officials for 45 minutes Thursday about what would happen if the CBA does expire, while the union speaks to agents on Friday.

“Basically, it was about where we are, where we hope to get and, in case (a new CBA) doesn’t get there, scenarios that will play out,” Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said after the NFL meeting in Indianapolis. “So we got a little bit of information.”

In other words: He and everyone else must wait to see what happens next week. In addition to the return to mediation in Washington, team owners are scheduled to meet in nearby Chantilly, Va., Wednesday and Thursday.

“During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions,” Cohen said.

Saturday was one of four active players on the NFLPA’s executive committee present Thursday, joined by Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins, and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel and guard Brian Waters. Nine of that committee’s 11 members participated at some point during these seven days of talks; union president Kevin Mawae and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not.

No NFL team owners attended the talks in Washington. Cohen asked both parties to keep quiet about the mediation, and union lawyer Richard Berthelsen said Thursday that gag order is still in effect.

All Smith would say as he walked toward the union’s headquarters was: “We’ll see you all next week.”

Seeking to keep a lid on what’s happening in the talks, the NFL sent an e-mail on behalf of Goodell to team owners, presidents, general managers and PR employees Thursday, attaching a copy of Cohen’s statement and saying: “We will have no further comment beyond this release and no club or member of your organization should comment beyond this release.”

After months of infrequent and sometimes contentious talks, the NFL and union have been communicating regularly with Cohen present. The sides went more than two months without any formal bargaining until Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl. The sides met again once the next week, then called off a second meeting that had been scheduled for the following day.

The most recent CBA was signed in 2006, but owners exercised an opt-out clause in 2008.

During the mediation – which was voluntary and intended to spur progress – the sides have been talking both in full groups and in smaller subcommittee meetings.

“Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance,” Cohen said in Thursday’s statement. “I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions.”

Also Thursday, there was a hearing before a U.S. District Court judge in Minneapolis to discuss the NFLPA’s complaint that the league improperly negotiated TV deals. The union has accused the NFL of structuring contracts so owners would be guaranteed money from networks even if there were a lockout in 2011 – while not getting the most revenue possible in other seasons, when income would need to be shared with players.

It’s not clear when there will be a decision in the case.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

dumb ass denver donkeys

Denver columnist blames coin flip for Broncos loss

The Denver Broncos defense showed improvement in their overtime loss to Seattle, but they were run over in ...
140922-wilson-lynch-round-660

Game at a glance: Seahawks 26, Broncos 20 OT

After surrendering a six-play, 80-yard drive that allowed the Broncos to tie the game at the end of ...
140921wilson660a

Overtime proved to be Russell Wilson time

After the Broncos rallied behind Peyton Manning to tie the score in regulation, Russell Wilson led the Seahawks ...
62KR2.AuSt.5

Hawk secondary has rare off day

Chargers receiver Kennan Allen leveled a shot at Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, contending “he’s just a normal ...
20140915mmm660

Philip Rivers’ performance puts Seahawks defense in redemption mode

Monday metatarsal musings: What Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates were able to do on Sunday just doesn’t happen ...
Z3pJa.AuSt.5

Seahawks’ defense can’t get off field, Seattle loses at San Diego, 30-21

The team bus is leaving Qualcomm Stadium. It only seems like the Seahawks’ defense is still on that ...
20140911harvin660

Unleashing Percy Harvin on the jet sweep

The jet sweep is nothing new, even with Percy Harvin running it as dynamically as he did in ...
1ffZ5G.AuSt.5

Pete Carroll meets with Seahawks about domestic violence

Real life is intersecting with the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL. As with everything else surrounding the ...

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com
 

lat-noise-wre0011368363-20130915

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz