The NFL has ratcheted up the stakes in its ongoing dispute with the NFL Players Association by filing a formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Board today. The NFL has accused the NFLPA of failing to bargain in good faith as a way of running out the clock on negotiations and setting up an eventual decertification of the union.
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Newsday, the league specifically charges the union with delaying the scheduling of bargaining sessions, failing to respond in a timely fashion to proposals made by the NFL Management Council, inducing the Management Council to make proposals that were categorically rejected by the union, insisting on financial data that the NFL claims it is not legally bound to disclose (i.e. opening its books), and suspending negotiations until the league agrees to provide more detailed financial data.
The league also claims that the union’s behavior over the last 20 months “plainly establish that it does not intend to engage in good faith collective bargaining with the NFL after the CBA expires.”
The complaint asks the NLRB to force the union to bargain in good fath as the two sides prepare for the expiration of the agreement after March 3.
The NFLPA dismissed the NFL’s claims about decertification, and reiterated the players’ desire to have a new CBA worked out.
“The players didn't walk out and the players can't lock out,” the union said in a statement. “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 two sides met in formal negotiating sessions the day before the Super Bowl and again last Wednesday. However, meetings that were scheduled for Thursday were canceled after the union said the league’s negotiating team walked out of Wednesday’s talks.