NFL and PA Make ‘Positive’ Step in Agreeing Federal Mediation

February 18, 2011

In what has been claimed as a big step forward with regards to the discussions regarding a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Football League (NFL) and the players’ union (NFLPA), a U.S. government mediator will help progress talks aimed at reaching a new labor deal.

The U.S.’s most-watched television sport and its players agreed to have the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) run negotiations starting tomorrow in Washington, according to a news release yesterday, February 17.

Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, stated in an interview: “This is a very positive sign. If the parties don’t want to reach a settlement, they won’t. But the mediator will help them along.”

The sides are arguing about how to share almost US$9 billion in league revenue. Owners want to double the $1 billion they take out to cover expenses before dividing the remainder with players, according to the NFLPA.

Other areas of dispute include rookie salary scales, the addition of two regular-season games and health care for players.

In “highly confrontational situations” mediation can help parties back away from original positions and demands, or retreat from bellicose rhetoric, improving the chances of compromise, Chaison said.

Director George H. Cohen said in the FMCS release: “Negotiations will now be conducted under my auspices in Washington, D.C.”