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Thread: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

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    Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Union decertifies after failing to reach labor deal with league
    By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
    March 11, 2011

    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.

    "The union left a very good deal on the table," the NFL said in a statement. "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 union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.

    "The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes."

    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, calling the information "utterly meaningless."


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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    screw you too nflpa.
    Jonze and ramsplaya16 like this.

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    No one has the full story..but if they offered to split the difference, I think thats grounds at least for an extension. That, imo, is compromise and a very reasonable offer. NFL PA is just as much to blame for this as it owners if that offer actually was made.

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Is it me or is DeMaurice Smith extremely untrusting? There's just something about him–as if he has a hidden political agenda to, in essence, promote himself. That's the vibe I get from him, but I could, and hope to be, wrong. Regardless, this is horrible news and it looks like there won't be an NFL 2011 season. It's a shame because we won't get to see our Rams play We really looked like we were headed in the right direction–and we are. But it just sucks that we're now in limbo as far as seeing our team make it to the Promised Land.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    I kinda blame the NFLPA for this one. The NFL is a business, the owners are your boss, if i asked my boss to look at the books or im not working id get fired, why should it be any different for players. They earn enough money as it is, they know the risks. Issues like rookie salary cap etc. can be sorted easily through discussion.

    If they dont want to play the game now, there may not be a game when they come back

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    You know, I'm really starting to swing towards the owners on this one...

    Over the last week, we've heard that the 1 Billion between them came down to about 7-800 Million. I initially thought that it was actual compromise, but the more that I read, the more it just seems that the NFL came DOWN to that number. I don't know if the Union compromised one bit this past week.

    The NFL gave a last ditch offer yesterday(Possibly one with language that favors the league as tehy knew the Union would reject it, but they could use it as the "last, best offer"), and the Union just said "No, open the books." I didn't hear a single thing from the union on the offer, just that they wanted the money details. And from the details that NFL network is sharing from the last offer, it's actually REALLY REALLY in favor of the players. They redistribute the early pick money TO the players, they don't go to 18 games, they take away a TON of practice time, and as Rich Eisen says, it could be the end of two a days in the NFL. I want to see one way that the Union seriously gave something to the league. And the rookie wage scale doesn't count, that one wa obvious...

    And speaking of the money, the Union asking for such detail really is unreasonable to me. If the data that they are demanding(not compromising on again) is complied by an outside financial entity and then spread out to who knows who, there will be havok raised all across the league. The NFL is extremely split on their own revenue sharing between the teams, and specific team data being out there just shouts that it'll be leaked. Even if the identities are well hidden, you don't think that the financial experts on each team won't be able to spot who is who in the data? It could lead to the league blowing up!

    My last comment is about a funny idea I heard about what money gets thrown into the pie. The owners have to throw in every single dollar that they make, then they get 1 Billion off the top. They develop new intellectual assets(logos, uniforms, etc) and sell them to Reebok or whatever, and they have to give up 60% of that income. They find a new way to market their team, they have to give up 60% of that income. So, why do the players get to makes tons of endorsement money ON TOP of their salaries and not share that with the league? They get that money by being an NFL player, and frequently use the NFL or team logos in doing so. You think the Union would be so unwilling to give the owners more money if they all of a sudden had to share THEIR income as well?
    I believe!

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    From Sporting News:

    The NFL's labor situation has gone from bad to worse.

    Talks between the owners and players broke down Friday, and the NFL Players Association decertified. In response to a federal antitrust suit filed Friday, with three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks among 10 players listed as plaintiffs, the NFL put a lockout into effect, sources told NFL.com.

    With this contentious fight moving from the conference room to the courtroom, months could easily pass before the owners and players reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Somebody dial 911.

    NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith gave NFL owners an ultimatum Friday afternoon, asking for 10 years of audited financial records from the owners. Smith said the NFLPA would need those financial records before the union would agree to extend talks beyond Friday's negotiating deadline. The NFL declined.

    “I dare any one of you to show an economic indicator the NFL has fallen on hard times,” Smith said Friday night outside his Washington office.

    "We think mediation is the fairest and fastest way to a reach an agreement that works for the players and the clubs," commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday night. "And we believe ultimately this is going to be negotiated at the negotiating table. But they've chosen to pursue another strategy, and that is their choice.

    "But we will be prepared to negotiate an agreement that is fair to the players and fair to the clubs."

    DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA end their talks with the NFL. (AP Photo)

    Federal mediator George H. Cohen said Friday night that he saw "no useful purpose" in extending the negotiations. If both sides ask for his assistance later, he said he would welcome more mediation.

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

    Decertification was the union's biggest card to play in negotiations, and it finally played it. That sets the stage for a long, contentious court battle between the owners and players that could drag on for months and months and threaten the 2011 season.

    By decertifying, the union cleared the way for individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NFL, which opted out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2008. It renounced its right to represent the players in contract bargaining.

    The union -- now operating as a "trade association" -- filed an injunction Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to block NFL lockout. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees are the primary plaintiffs, and a ruling is expected at some point in the next month.

    The case was assigned to U.S. District judge Patrick Schiltz, not his colleague David Doty, who has overseen NFL labor matters since the early 1990s and has several times ruled in favor of the players. The lawsuit still could end up in front of Doty. New cases are randomly assigned to judges when they're filed but are sometimes reassigned to others on the bench with expertise in a certain issue.

    “Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation," Brees wrote Friday night on Twitter. "That is a FACT. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us. ... Past players sacrificed a great deal to give us what we have now in the NFL, and we will not lay down for a second to give that up.

    "We have a responsibility and at some point you just have to stand up for what is right.”
    The NFL, in a statement, said it had offered to split the difference in the financial gap and to ultimately reach the players' asking price by the end of a proposed five-year CBA. The NFL also said it had offered a rookie salary scale for first-round picks, guarantee no reduction in veteran pay, reduced offseason workouts, retain the current 16-game regular season and establish a new $82 million fund for improved health coverage for retired players.

    NFLPA counsel Jim Quinn called the NFL's statement "a lie," saying the league's last offer would roll back player salaries back to 2007 levels. Smith said the NFL last proposal would have reduced the salary cap from "$149 million to 2009 to $141 million in 2011" and added that 2012 cap would have been $148 million, also less than the 2009 cap.

    Smith said the players' union was willing to extend the negotiating window a third time but was only willing to do so if the owners agreed to present 10 years worth of audited financial data for all 32 teams. The owners balked, and the union decided the deal on the table wasn't as favorable as the one it could forge once the court challenges play out.

    "They said, 'Trust us,' but when it came time for the verification, they told us it was none of our business," Smith said. "The measure of our association is the men and their families who fight for the only thing they can bestow to each other: a better game, a safer game and a recognition from those who own for common respect."

    Simply, from the players' and owners' perspective, there wasn't much pressure to compromise now -- and there won't be until July. This is the league's first work stoppage since 1987.

    "I'd say to fans -- I don't think we're going to lose the season," said Gary Roberts, a law professor at Indiana University-Indianapolis and a labor relations expert. "We might lose the preseason, and we might lose a couple of games in the regular season. But I can't believe they won't get a deal done in time for most, if not all, of the 2011 season."


    Now that the union has decertified and the CBA has expired, the NFL can do one of two things: Lock out the players or declare an impasse and institute new work rules. Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney said Friday night that the lockout was the likely course of action.

    "We're going to make that decision in the next 24 hours," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I would say we're probably headed in that direction."

    At the stroke of midnight ET, the lockout became official, sourced told NFL.com.
    In the 52-page lawsuit filed Friday, the players are seeking a declaration that NFL salary cap, draft, franchise tag and other restrictions violate the Sherman Antitrust Act, according to SportsBusiness Journal. The suit also seeks a declaration that NFL teams pay all contractually owed amounts to players regardless if lockout continues.

    If Doty grants the injunction to prevent the lockout, the NFL could appeal that decision. During the appeals process, the league likely would be forced to take the players back and impose work rules. The new "trade association" then is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit.

    At the same time, the league could ask the NLRB to decide on a charge that the union did not engage in serious bargaining. The NLRB, if it sides with the league, could file an injunction in a federal court seeking to block the union's decertification. A union cannot file an antitrust lawsuit, so decertifying was critical to the players' strategy.

    With the dispute now in court, both sides could end up with a deal they don't like.
    Goodell had emphasized that negotiation was better than litigation. The case now goes to Doty -- who already has ruled against the owners, denying them access to more than $4 billion in TV money during a lockout -- and has been favorable to players in other rulings.

    With the league seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions, the players weren't willing to move much in negotiations unless the league opened its books fully and justified the proposed cuts.

    "No one is happy where we are now," NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash said. "I think we know where the commitment was. It was a commitment to litigate all along.
    “The absence of an agreement is a shared failure. I think (fans) should be disappointed.”



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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Let me break this down for all of you: The NFLPA and the NFL are freaking stupid idiots. The fans are getting screwed.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Quote Originally Posted by Varg6 View Post
    Is it me or is DeMaurice Smith extremely untrusting? There's just something about him–as if he has a hidden political agenda to, in essence, promote himself. That's the vibe I get from him, but I could, and hope to be, wrong. Regardless, this is horrible news and it looks like there won't be an NFL 2011 season. It's a shame because we won't get to see our Rams play We really looked like we were headed in the right direction–and we are. But it just sucks that we're now in limbo as far as seeing our team make it to the Promised Land.
    Got to say I agree. I've never liked DeMaurice Smith. Goodell said he would take a pay cut to $1 if a lockout wasn't avoided (and he has) but Smith said he would take a pay cut if a new agreement was reached before the Superbowl. Isn't that a bit odd?

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaRam View Post
    Let me break this down for all of you: The NFLPA and the NFL are freaking stupid idiots. The fans are getting screwed.
    Yep, the owners and players are eventually going to get their money, money that comes from the the only party is this whole fiasco getting screwed, the fans.

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    Re: Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBritishRam View Post
    Got to say I agree. I've never liked DeMaurice Smith. Goodell said he would take a pay cut to $1 if a lockout wasn't avoided (and he has) but Smith said he would take a pay cut if a new agreement was reached before the Superbowl. Isn't that a bit odd?
    I could be completely wrong, but I interpreted that as Smith saying he's focusing on getting something done prior to the deadline rather than worry about what he's doing to do if the deadline passes. But they're both publicity stunts. I don't care what their salaries are; I care about having football in 2011.

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