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NFL, players' union agree to 24-hour extension of labor talks

March 03, 2011|By Sam FarmerNFL, players' union agree to 24-hour extension of labor talks | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

According to multiple reports, the NFL and the players union have agreed to a 24-hour extension of labor talks, pushing back the Thursday 9 p.m. PST expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement to Friday at 9 p.m.

There are indications that the move is to buy time for a longer extension, possibly a week, to continue negotiations. The league and players' union were meeting for a 10th day Thursday with Federal Mediator George H. Cohen.

"To all our fans who dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this. We're going to keep working. We want to play football," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said.

The timing is very important because, if it intends to decertify, the union must do so before the CBA expires.

Every indication is being given that the owners plan to lock out the players, effecting the first stopping of labor since 1987 and creating maximum pressure to forge a new deal. The major point of conflict between the two sides is how to divide the NFL's $9 billion in annual revenue.

The mediation is non-binding and either side can walk away at any time. Last year, Cohen helped Major League Soccer resolve a labor crisis and avoid a work stoppage.

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