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Negotiator: PRO Threatens to Lock Out Refs' Union

  • ESPN FC, Wednesday, March 5, 2014 6:02 PM
With the 2014 Major League Soccer season just days away from its opener, the Professional Referees Organization, the company that employs MLS officials, is threatening to lock out referees belonging to the Professional Soccer Referees Association, ESPN reports. PRO and PRSA have been attempting to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement since last year, but talks have become increasingly contentious, says Steve Taylor, the union’s vice president.

On Feb. 21, the PRSA voted 64-1 authorizing its board to call a strike whenever it deemed it to be appropriate. The vote was largely in response to allegations that the PRO was unavailable for meetings, failed to bargain in good faith, and engaged in regressive bargaining in addition to the charge that a PRO member had threatened as many as 10 referees with reprisals if they continued to engage in union activities.

Taylor met Tuesday with PRO GM Peter Walton as well as MLS Executive Vice President Todd Durbin. "There hasn't been any real movement on their part, and there has been on our part," Taylor told ESPN. "They don't seem to be interested in making a deal. They're stuck where they are and this is on both economic and non-economic issues." According to Taylor, PRO has said it doesn’t have the money to meet PRSA’s demands, even though MLS-backed PRO has admitted privately that it does. "They don't feel that we're worth it is what it kind of boils down to," Taylor said.

Meanwhile, if the PRSA decides to strike, MLS insists that it will move forward with replacement referees.

Read the whole story at ESPN FC »

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