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NFL, referees at odds

Less than a year after the NFL ended its lockout of the players, the league is now involved in a similarly intractable dispute with the referees' union. 

The NFL Referees Association today filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, which was promptly followed by a strong response from the league denying the union's claims. 

The NFLRA charged that the league has violated labor law by sending letters to game officials that "contained inaccurate, false and incomplete information regarding bargaining issues and proposals."

“It is clear the league never intended to work toward a fair agreement, even through mediation,” NFLRA executive director Mike Arnold said in a statement. “As previously noted, the NFL sent out notices regarding the recruitment of replacement referees while we were actively negotiating under the [auspices] of a jointly agreed upon Federal Mediator.  Now during a lockout, the NFL is attempting to bypass NFLRA negotiators by distributing inaccurate and misleading financial information to all the referees.  We have urged the Board to investigate this matter quickly and to seek appropriate remedies against the NFL’s unlawful bargaining practices.”

The league denied the allegations.

"There is no merit to these claims,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "It is common for employers during collective bargaining to provide factual information to employees that has already been communicated to the union.  That is all that was done here.”

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