Those following the ongoing labor mess closely on Twitter can probably see the frustration being felt by those covering the events live. Exhibit A: Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, who after a self-imposed Twitter timeout felt the need to repeat one more time what’s happening today in the world of collective bargaining.
As Trotter points out, the owners won’t be voting to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. If they vote today, it’ll be on whether to settle the pending antitrust and television rights lawsuits. “The settlement of those lawsuits would then become the backbone of a new CBA,” writes Trotter.
So if the owners and players agree on the terms to settle those court cases, that’ll just leave us with some outstanding issues that will reportedly involve negotiation. Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports that three specific points remain on the table. Allow me to elaborate on each of them.
1) Franchise tag: Super-agent Tom Condon told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen yesterday that the players want the league to adopt a rule that limits the use of the tag to once in a career, so they’ve yet to drop an issue that has lingered for months. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen elaborates here.
2) $320 million in lost 2010 benefits: During the uncapped 2010 season, the owners saved $10 million each in health care benefits. The players are now asking for all or some of that money, presumably in exchange for a promise to drop the David Doty “lockout insurance” lawsuit that is expected to go their way. Trotter elaborates here.
3) Workers’ compensation: The league wants injured players to file for workers’ comp in the state in which they played, rather than filing in California, where the employee-friendly laws allow anyone who played a game in the state to file there. My pal Dave Fucillo elaborates here.
And at some point, the trade organization formerly known as the NFLPA has to re-certify and once again become the NFLPA in order to collectively bargain and put the finishing touches on a new deal. There’s a belief that the league can open for business prior to this happening, but there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the process.
And at this point, that shouldn’t surprise anybody.