Mediator statement after NFL talks break off

By The Associated Press
March 12, 2011

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After 16 days of talks mediated by the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the NFL and the players' union could not reach agreement on a new labor deal. The mediator, George H. Cohen, issued the following statement Friday in Washington:

As a follow up to the NFL's and NFLPA's agreeing to my invitation on Feb. 17 to conduct further negotiations under the auspices of the FMCS, over the past four weeks 17 days of mediation have taken place. During this extensive period, a wide variety of issues both economic and work related were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner, consistent with what one would expect to take place in a constructive collective bargaining setting. Those issues were explored at length; consensus emerged in a number of them; and in others, differences were narrowed and focused.

Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held, competing positions that separated them on core issues.

In these circumstances, after carefully reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered judgment of myself and Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, who has been engaged with me throughout this process, that no useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time. For our part, the agency has advised the parties that we will be willing and prepared to continue to facilitate any future discussions upon their mutual request.

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