Referees file unfair labor charges against NFL

The ongoing labor battle between the NFL and its referees has taken another turn as the NFL Referees Association has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the NFL.

The referees were locked out on June 3 and contract talks between the two sides have gone nowhere as the league is now in the process of seeking replacement officials.

The NFLRA asserts that the NFL has sent misleading information to its members. The claim alleges that the league sent letters that “contained inaccurate, false and incomplete information” regarding the issues at hand. The NFLRA claims this is an unfair labor practice “in violation of the NFL’s duty to bargain exclusively with the NFLRA.”

“It is clear the league never intended to work toward a fair agreement, even through mediation,” the NFLRA wrote in a release sent to media. “As previously noted, the NFL sent out notices regarding the recruitment of replacement referees while we were actively negotiating under the auspicious (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.”

We’ll see what direction this heads next. Training camps will be opening in about a month, meaning preseason games are a little more than six weeks away. What the NFL doesn’t need is replacement referees and officials working regular-season games.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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