The two sides in the NFL labor dispute held a conference call with US district court Judge Susan Nelson yesterday to hammer out of the details of where, when and under whose authority their negotiations would resume. Earlier in the week, Nelson urged the sides to continue talking as she considered the players' lawsuit asking for an injunction to lift the owners' lockout.
The players want to negotiate under the supervision of the court, while the owners would prefer to negotiate with federal mediator George Cohen as they had been doing. The problem with the owners plan is that the players can not negotiate with a federal mediator while they are not a union. Since the NFLPA is now a trade association, they have no right to collectively bargain on behalf of the players.
However, it can negotiate under the supervision of the court as part of settlement talks for their lawsuit. So the players can still essentially negotiate a new CBA without being a union under the guise of settlement talks. For the players to resume talks with a federal mediator like the owners want, they would have to drop their lawsuit. Obviously they don't want to do that.
More on why the latest round of talks will probably be meaningless after the jump...
Even if talks do resume, there aren't many reasons to think anything will get done. Neither side is in any better or worse bargaining position than it was when talks broke down previously. There's no more motivation now than there was then to get a deal done. Plus, both sides think they're going to win this lawsuit that Judge Nelson is currently reviewing. The winner of that lawsuit gets a big boost in leverage, so why rush for a settlement now?
In fact, CNBC's Darren Rovell is reporting that the players won't even really negotiate if talks resume because they think they'll win the injunction.