The federal mediator that is scheduled to meet with the NBA and its Players Association next week certainly has his work cut out if there's going to be an end to the NBA lockout anytime soon. Fortunately George Cohen already has a decent amount of experience in the field, having previously done the same type of work during the NFL lockout.
Cohen, appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service, experience includes previously working with the NFL lockout, the MLB players during their 1995 labor dispute, Major League Soccer and even the Federal Aviation Administration in an agreement with air traffic controllers.
Cohen also issued a statement to USA Today, detailing his part in the process.
"For a number of months I have participated in separate, informal, off-the-record discussions with the principals representing the NBA and the NBPA concerning the status of their collective bargaining negotiations," Cohen said.
"It is evident that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce - i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played. In these circumstances, the Agency has invited, and the parties have agreed, to convene further negotiations under my auspices."
There aren't any promises that Cohen will be able to bring the two sides closer together, but it can't hurt having a neutral person in the room considering the lack of progress as of late.