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NFL labor timeline

NFL labor history

A chronology of major developments since the league recognized the players association in 1968:

1971: Union files antitrust lawsuit against league, seeking to eliminate "Rozelle Rule," under which commissioner Pete Rozelle could award equal compensation to team losing a free agent.

1977: Union wins suit, gets only limited free agency with compensation under new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

1982: A 57-day strike beginning after two games are played forces cancellation of seven weeks of season and leads to 16-team playoff tournament. New CBA basically returns lost salary to players for games missed and upgrades benefits and health coverage.

1987: Union goes on strike after two games. Owners sign replacement players and, after missing one week, stage three games. During that time, dozens of veterans cross picket lines. After 24 days, union votes to end strike despite no new CBA. A 15-game season is played. Dec. 30, union asks federal judge David Doty to overturn league rules restricting free agency.

1989: Limited free agency system called Plan B begins, allowing teams to protect 37 players and giving them the right to match offers for free agents or receive compensation. Union decertifies as players opt to take cases to court. Rozelle resigns, replaced by Paul Tagliabue.

1990: Doty rules players are free to pursue individual antitrust cases against league. Jets running back Freeman McNeil and seven others who were restricted under Plan B file antitrust suit.

1992: Minneapolis jury strikes down Plan B and awards $1.63 million in damages to four of eight plaintiffs.

1993: After Eagles defensive end Reggie White files class-action suit, CBA negotiations begin. Result includes more open free agency and salary cap.

2006: Tagliabue negotiates fifth extension of CBA. Both sides can opt out of it in 2008. Tagliabue retires. Roger Goodell elected commissioner.

2008: League opts out of CBA, saying its costs are too high and it needs givebacks from players. No salary cap for 2010 season.

2011: Union files collusion claim against owners regarding lack of movement of restricted free agents. … League files charge against union with National Labor Relations Board for not bargaining in good faith because of its plan to decertify. … Federal mediator George Cohen begins mediation sessions Feb. 18.

Associated Press

NFL labor timeline 03/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 8:49am]

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