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In order for professional football to resume later this year, a new collective bargaining agreement must be negotiated between the team owners and the players union (which technically is non-existent). Since no agreement currently exists, the owners locked players out earlier this month. That means that players are not allowed to use team facilities for off-season workouts and they no longer receive off-season pay. A draft of college players is still scheduled for April, but the owners promise there will be no training camps and the season will not begin in September without an agreement. For their part, the players de-certified the union to clear the way for filing an antitrust suit against the NFL attempting to prohibit it from locking out players.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The team owners and the players union are the National Football League (i.e., the same organization). How can conflict exist? From what does the conflict stem?
  2. If you had to assign a cause, what would it be?
  3. Choose either side and describe how each conflict management style might look if it were used.
  4. Both sides seem to be dug in and unwilling to budge. Examine the criteria for effective negotiation. How should the sides proceed?
  5. Prior to talks breaking off, representatives of the owners and the players union were meeting to reach an agreement. What options exist for bringing in an outsider to help the sides resolve their dispute? What are the pros and cons of each option?

SOURCE: M. Futterman, “NFL Girds for Fight, Says Loss Is Covered,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704027504576198823607805368.html)

See related article at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703818204576206912439925714.html

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