KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — With simply days to go earlier than N.F.L. gamers vote on a 10-year labor settlement, one of probably the most influential members of its union’s govt committee has accused the employees of the N.F.L. Players Association of negotiating the proposed deal in unhealthy religion.
Russell Okung, who has been vocal opponent of the proposed 10-year labor deal now earlier than roughly 2,000 N.F.L. gamers, on Monday filed an unfair labor apply cost with the National Labor Relations Board, the unbiased federal company tasked with guarding worker rights.
The three-page submitting accuses the N.F.L.P.A. employees, together with its govt director, DeMaurice Smith, of forcing a vote on the deal over the objections of its govt committee, in violation of the union’s structure. Okung additionally accused the union’s management of attempting to muzzle him from talking out concerning the lack of transparency with the chief committee concerning the negotiations with N.F.L. homeowners, which started final 12 months.
The homeowners mentioned in February that if the gamers don’t approve the proposed deal by the top of the league’s calendar 12 months on March 18, then the approaching season will likely be ruled by the present collective bargaining settlement till it expires subsequent 12 months.
The N.L.R.B. sometimes takes a number of weeks to research expenses and determine if there’s ample proof to proceed with a proper criticism, which may result in litigation, which may take a number of extra months.
George Atallah, a union spokesman, mentioned the union’s attorneys had not seen a duplicate of the submitting. They will remark after reviewing it.
The 11-member govt committee, which is made up of present and former gamers, is liable for negotiating labor agreements. The homeowners authorized the brand new, 10-year deal final month, forward of negotiations for what is anticipated to be profitable broadcast rights with media firms. Many gamers have opposed the deal because it adds an additional regular-season game and increases the players’ portion of league revenue to only 48 percent, among other points of dispute.
Last month, the executive committee voted 6 to 5 not to recommend the deal. The measure then moved to a vote of the 32 team representatives on the board, before a general body vote. The board voted 17 to 14 with one abstention, below the two-thirds majority needed to recommend the deal. The union said that the simple majority was enough to send the proposal to the full membership, which has until 11:59 p.m. Saturday to vote in a newly extended deadline.
Okung said that the proposed collective bargaining agreement should not have been sent to the full membership to vote because the deal was rejected by a majority of the executive committee. The dispute hinges on the view of the proposal. If the proposal constitutes an amendment to the existing labor deal, as Okung believes, it must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the union’s 32 player representatives. In his view, the proposed C.B.A. lacks enough substantive change from the current labor agreement to be considered a new deal.
If the deal is considered a new agreement, as union staff contends, then only a simple majority of the board must approve it for full membership to vote. Okung said if that is the case, the deal should not have proceeded because the executive committee rejected it.
Okung, who was recently traded from the Los Angeles Chargers to the Carolina Panthers, also contends in the filing that Smith and members of the N.F.L.P.A. staff violated the union’s constitution by “freezing out and attempting to prevent Mr. Okung and the other members of the executive committee from fulfilling their constitutional roles as the negotiating committee of a new or extended collective bargaining agreement.”
Okung, who joined the executive committee as a vice president in 2018, states in his filing that the union leadership has tried to intimidate him from speaking out about what he believes are irregularities in negotiations. He claims to have been “threatened with criminal prosecution and union sanction by N.F.L.P.A. leadership and was subjected to an unprecedented investigation, specifically for behaviors that could not be construed under any circumstances as harmful.”
The filing comes a day before the 32 player representatives, who are meeting here at their annual convention, are expected to elect a new president, the highest ranking player in union leadership. The current president, Eric Winston, has held the position for six years, but is prohibited from running for re-election because he was not on an N.F.L. roster last season. Okung has announced his candidacy. Sam Acho, Michael Thomas and J.C. Tretter are also vying for the position. It is unclear if today’s filing with the N.L.R.B. means Okung will drop out.
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