Federal Mediation for NFL Referees in Labor Deal
The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Referees Association are beginning federal mediation. On Thursday, May 24th, 2012, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced that the NFL and the labor association for referees had agreed to mediate their new labor agreement.
The current deal between the two parties expires at the end of May 2012 and the NFL has allegedly begun scouting for replacement officials - "scabs" - for the upcoming 2012-2013 NFL season, if an agreement between the parties is not finalized. Both sides reportedly want to reach a consensus in the labor agreement.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service based in Washington, DC mediated a prior dispute between the NFL owners and the players' union in 2011 before the players were locked out for nearly five months. The NFL and the players' union did not return to federal mediation when their settlement discussions continued. The final result of the NFL owners' dispute with the players ended with a 10-year labor agreement last summer. A court-appointed mediator in Minnesota headed the last-ditch effort to resolve the dispute after the players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the owners.