No new labor talks scheduled for refs, NFL

PFW staff

After meeting this weekend, the NFL and the referees' union have no further talks planned.

The NFL plans to start the season, which begins Wednesday, with replacement referees. The standard officials have been locked out by the league, at loggerheads over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Mike Arnold, the lead negotiator for the NFLRA (National Football League Referees Association), issued a statement on behalf of the union to express his dismay with the situation.

"We are disappointed because it means that our members will not be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season due to the NFL's continuing lockout. We remain willing to negotiate with the NFL in order to reach a fair agreement.

"However, no additional meetings are scheduled at this time."

The Cowboys and Giants open the season Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium, and the NFL announced that a replacement crew will work that game. The rest of the Week One games will take place on Sunday and Monday. It's almost certain that the replacement referees — who faced widespread fan and media criticism for their performance during the preseason — will work all of the Week One games.

Since being locked out in June, the union and the NFL have discussed the gap in their negotiations. According to various reports, the two sides remain quite far apart on economic issues, as well as in regard to benefits.

The NFL has proposed having full-time officials, one for each of the seven members of each crew (referee, umpire, line judge, side judge, back judge, field judge, head linesman). The NFLRA is not opposed to this, but Arnold said that the full-time officials would need to be compensated fairly.