Following news of the owner's ratifying a significantly altered version of the previously agreed upon collective bargaining agreement, a proposed player vote that was scheduled to take place Thursday has now been delayed until further notice. With the unexpected last-second changes in the proposal, the players union have decided to break off all talks until the agreement's new stipulations can be fully overlooked by representatives. The decision to was reached following an extended union conference call Thursday night.
Understandably, there has been a firestorm of reaction from the NFLPA's side once the owner's deal was reached. Upon finishing the call, player representative George Wilson stated "This is nothing more than an attempt to get the fans to turn on the players, to add even more pressure on the players and to attempt to get us to take a deal."
According to NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, he and NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen are under the impression that the nature of the proposal may violate federal labor laws. Essentially, the idea is that it is highly illegal for an employer to strong-arm their employees into the formation of a union. In trying to call a press conference to intimidate players into passing an agreement they have yet to look over, Smith believes the owners are in clear violation of the clause.
The NFL also demanded that they see proof of the validity of the union's re-certification by visibly monitoring whether a majority of players have signed their union authorization voting cards. An e-mail by Berthelsen explained that the league made it clear that the player's union must meet a July 26th deadline for this request.
The new CBA includes "virtually all provisions of the old CBA" and that, after voting on it, by July 26, the players would have just three days to bargain changes in terms. The agreement, the email goes on, "would become final on Saturday, July 30. If the NFL does not agree to the players' proposed changes, the old CBA terms on benefits, discipline, safety, etc., will remain unchanged for another 10 years."