the collective bargaining agreement expires by anamaulida


									The N.F.L. filed an unfair labor practice charge against the players'
union Monday, alleging that the union has failed to bargain in good faith
because, the league said, it plans to decertify.The Fifth DownThe union
sought approval from players to decertify -- players from each team voted
during the season to authorize the union to dissolve if necessary -- but
has not said whether it planned to go through with decertification if a
new labor deal was not reached by the March 3 expiration. If the union
decertifies, it essentially puts itself out of business as a negotiating
body for players."The players didn't walk out and the players can't lock
out," the union said in a statement responding to the filing. "Players
want a fair, new and long-term deal. We have offered proposals and
solutions on every issue the owners have raised. This claim has
absolutely no merit."The filing by the N.F.L., which was expected by the
union, is a procedural move intended to prevent decertification. The
N.F.L. claims that the union is engaging in "surface bargaining" and
tactics designed to avoid reaching an agreement before the collective
bargaining agreement expires so that it can file antitrust litigation
against the league to try to block a lockout.In the filing, the league
asked the National Labor Relations Board to order the union to bargain in
good faith. Calls to the board's spokeswoman Monday were not returned,
and it is unclear how and when the case will be resolved.Among the
tactics the N.F.L. alleges the union has used: the failure to schedule
negotiating sessions, a failure to respond in a timely manner to
proposals made by the owners and an insistence on disclosure of financial
data that, the N.F.L. says in the complaint, the union has no legal right
to. It refers to a possible decertification as a "ploy" and a "sham,"
calling it the same tactic the union used in 1989, when it decertified,
only to later form again."The union's strategy amounts to an unlawful
anticipatory refusal to bargain," the league said in its complaint.While
relations between the two sides have become highly charged -- owners cut
short planned negotiating sessions last week as the sides have sparred
over everything from a rookie wage scale to the overriding issue of how
revenue should be divided -- the move did not come as a surprise to the
union, which had known about the league's intentions for some time.Also
on Monday, the union held a conference call with agents to update them on
negotiations. Although a boycott of the scouting combine in Indianapolis
next week had been floated as a possible show of might by the union, it
appears highly unlikely that prospects will be held out of the workouts
attended by team personnel. Agents have offered little support for a
boycott because of the risk that it could imperil their clients' draft
positions.The union has also discussed with agents the possibility of
keeping college prospects from participating in the public events that
surround the draft in April. The draft will be held even if a lockout
begins in March, and the league typically invites a handful of the top
prospects to New York for public appearances.

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