The players union for the NFL filed a collusion claim this week against league owners, the latest move between the two sides as they approach the end of their labor contract.
The union had until 90 days after the start of the pro football season to accuse owners of moving to limit players’ salaries during last year’s off-season, but the NFL agreed to extend the December deadline.
“They have filed that claim. They filed it probably a week ago. There has been no activity at this point. But it’s something that was not unexpected,” the league’s lead labor negotiator, Jeff Pash, said Tuesday during a meeting of league owners in Atlanta. “It’s just another piece of litigation that we have to work our way through. So we will do that.”
A representative for the Union said Tuesday he could not comment on the case. Pash said a court date for a hearing has not been scheduled.
“It is something they were committed to doing. Their attorneys told us that they didn’t see any reason to delay it any further,” Pash said. “Our reaction was, ‘That’s fine. If you feel you have a claim and want to file, go ahead and file.’”
The case will go before Stephen Burbank, the same judge who is looking at a complaint related to NFL television contracts. The union says the contracts were established so that the league would get money even if the season went into a lockout.
On Wednesday, NFL Players were on Capitol Hill to raise awareness about their labor dispute with owners. The union’s counsel, Joe Briggs, stated, “We’re not asking for members of Congress to get involved in this fight at all.”
Last week, both the NFL Players Union and NFL admitted both sides have not held sessions to negotiate since November. The current bargaining agreement was agreed to in 2006 and owners have agreed to an opt-out clause that will expire in March 2011. Both sides have not held negotiations; the union expects a lock-out.
The NFLPA is the National Football League Players Association and represents the players of the National Football League. It was established in 1956 to defend the rights and interest of pro football players.
Under a new agreement, the primary topic of NFL owners is extending the regular season to 18 games by removing two pre-season games.