Perhaps the two sides in the NFL labor dispute are really getting serious about wanting to make a deal, with only two weeks left until the collective bargaining agreement expires. The Washington Post reports that the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to federal mediation to help solve their dispute:
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced Thursday that the league and union had agreed to allow the agency to be involved in the negotiations.
The two sides are scheduled to meet Friday in D.C. with George H. Cohen, the agency’s director.
This is good news, though no guarantee of success, because mediators can only try to help conciliate the two sides in a labor dispute; it’s not like arbitration where an arbitrator hears the two sides and comes out with a decision that is binding on both of them. In this case, the mediator will help them conciliate and perhaps come up with a deal that’s good for both owners and players.
One thing is for sure — we won’t be getting much news out of the mediation service itself:
“Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s long-standing practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of those negotiations until further notice.”
That won’t stop everyone from speculating, of course. There are billions of dollars at stake, and the two sides have been quite far apart in what they are asking for from a new labor agreement. We, as always, await developments.