The National Football League Players Association has filed a lawsuit against its former players union over its failure to agree to a lockout deal that the union said it had reached with the NFL Players Association in April.
The union said Monday it was seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees in the lawsuit, which it filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, California, where the NFLPA was negotiating with the league on a lockout proposal.
The lawsuit said the players union was not “aware of” any agreement reached by the union and that the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is an “unfair” breach of contract.
“The NFLPA’s conduct of conduct during the last two years, as well as its continued refusal to negotiate on behalf of the players and its refusal to meet with the players during the lockout, constitutes a violation of the CBA,” the union’s attorney, Richard W. Bernstein, said in a statement.
The NFL was scheduled to meet for the first time Tuesday morning, according to NFLPA spokeswoman Joanne Lin.
The league has agreed to allow players to unionize and has agreed that it will use the players’ vote to decide whether to grant union representation on a regular basis, Lin said.
In a statement, NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith said, “The players are entitled to the right to bargain collectively and collectively they have.”
Smith said the league has “made significant progress” in talks with the union over the past year.
Smith did not address whether the union will file a lawsuit in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in June.
The NFLPA is seeking unspecified monetary damages and attorneys fees in a class-action lawsuit.
The suit comes after a week in which the NFL agreed to an unprecedented $1.5 billion settlement with the National Football Players Association.
The union said that it would pay $9 billion over three years, $1 billion in guaranteed salary payments and $2 billion in guarantees to players, who make up roughly one-fifth of the NFL population.
The agreement with the Players Association also requires the league to pay all players at least $15,000 for each year of service.
Players are set to begin a new collective-bargaining agreement that begins this season.