NFL Referees file unfair labor practice against league; NFL says case has no merit

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The NFL refs are at an impasse with the league, filing an unfair labor practice suit today. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Former Bears coach Lovie Smith may sit out a year if he doesn't land a head coaching position. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The NFL Referees filed a unfair labor practice suit against the NFL claiming the league "has engaged in 'direct dealing' by sending letters to locked-out game officials that 'contained inaccurate, false and incomplete information regarding bargaining issues and proposals.'"

According to, the NFLRA says that the NFL sent its referees letters on two separate occasions so the association took their grievances to the National Labor Relations Board.

“It is clear the league never intended to work toward a fair agreement, even through mediation,” NFLRA executive director Mike Arnold said in a press release.  “As previously noted, the NFL sent out notices regarding the recruitment of replacement referees while we were actively negotiating under the auspicious of a jointly agreed upon Federal Mediator."

The league has been looking at the possibility of using replacement referees if a deal is not reached before the start of the season.

“There is no merit to these claims,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Pro Football Talk in an email. “It is common for employers during collective bargaining to provide factual information to employees that has already been communicated to the union.  That is all that was done here.”