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MLS labor negotiations update

MLS and the players' union announced Friday afternoon that they have agreed to resume negotiations concerning a collective bargaining agreement next week in Washington. As part of the meetings, George H. Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will try to help resolve the issues.

This little squabble will be over in no time, right? What do the legal experts in Insider Nation think of this development?

By Steve Goff  |  March 5, 2010; 4:11 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

George Cohen, eh?

"Send the word, send the word to beware -
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over, over there."

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 5, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I think Cohen will be able to trim the excess off the players' demands.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 5, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

How does the lack of an agreed CBA impact (if at all) the Columbus Crew CONCACAF Champions League match scheduled for next week?

Why are you seemingly the only reporter covering and providing updates on the CBA negotiations? You get my vote already for the 2010 soccer blog of the year!

Posted by: tfoisie | March 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, if if they think show tunes will help, I'm all for it...

Posted by: JkR- | March 5, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What is Eddie Pope's current role in any of this?

At lunchtime CNN had footage of Michelle Obama at a fitness for kids event. She and Eddie Pope were both on screen (though his name wasn't mentioned).

Musta been some kind of back channel negotiating...

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | March 5, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious how all of the "legal experts" who respond to Steve's question will bill the time they spend writing their answer.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | March 5, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Confer with Insider Nation re status and strategy"

Posted by: OWNTF | March 5, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@Joel -- Most of this stuff is arranged by the law firms both sides employ.

Mediators do not trim anything. Hopefully, they can encourage parties to move in this direction and that. If asked, they can even offer an opinion. That's about it.

Personally, right now, I'm hoping they cancel the season and spare DC United fans a lot of pain.

Posted by: fischy | March 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

George Cohen, eh?
"Send the word, send the word to beware -
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over, over there."
Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 5, 2010 4:20 PM

Of course, unfortunately for your very clever use of classic Americana, he was George Cohan

Posted by: sec133row5 | March 5, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Crew on schedule to play next week. Business as usual for the rest of MLS, as well.

Thanks for the kind words, tfoisie, but a lot of reporters covering this story far more in depth than I am. (I can't devote all my time to soccer until my college basketball duties end -- today I'm in Richmond for CAA tournament)

Posted by: Steve Goff | March 5, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't really being serious when I said Eddie Pope might be engaging in secret negotiations with Michelle Obama about the CBA. But I did see them on TV together.

"As part of the meetings, George H. Cohen, the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will try to help resolve the issues."

I guess this doesn't mean that both sides have agreed to an outside mediator yet. But if they do accept outside mediation doesn't it just about bind the parties to accept the mediators judgment?

I'm not too knowledgeable about the mediation process but this labor dispute has always seemed like something that could be settled relatively easily by an outsider.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | March 5, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I saw Sunil Gulati at the lobby bar of the Mandarin Oreintal last night. Any idea what he's in town for Senor Goff? He was with a group of about 6 dudes that I didn't recognize.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | March 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Go Spiders!

Posted by: OWNTF | March 5, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Sounds good. Maybe should have taken this option sooner. As in, before it became very difficult to even get the season started.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | March 5, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, OWNTF! richWHAT

The game at GW back in January was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my winter.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | March 5, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

George Cohan is an experienced labor lawyer who spent most of his career at the best union-side law firm in America, Bredhoff & Kaiser, here in Washington DC. He knows how to get things done, and the players should be happy to have someone of his caliber brokering negotiations.

Posted by: dcpsycho | March 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

He's a consiliari?

Posted by: PeteO1 | March 5, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@dcpsycho -- Ummm...

I think you mean George Cohen.

George Cohan was "an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer."

Posted by: fischy | March 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone on here have to jump on people who spell someone's name wrong? Get over it. You know who they mean.

Posted by: bighungry | March 5, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Arbitration and Mediation are not the same thing. Arbitration means that the third-party's decisions are legally binding. Mediation just means that there is a third-party there to help facilitate negotiations.

Given that the union has said that they felt as though they were not being respected and that they viewed further negotiations as pointless because they would just be talking to themselves, it's not entirely surprising that they've opted to bring in a neutral third-party.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | March 5, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Gulati was in town for the US Soccer Foundation gala last night. Drew Carey hosted, Desmond Tutu was honored.

Garber and Pope were there as well. Perhaps there were some back-channel labor discussions?

Posted by: mtpleasant | March 5, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

and George Kohn is a dentist in San Francisco.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 5, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

To quote a good friend of mine......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: boda-united | March 5, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Democrats and Republicans. Union members and management. Here's something we can agree on. Michelle O showing some skill.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 5, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

these sides are further apart then they want to admit which why the mediator will try to advise each side why they need to move along.

Posted by: godpere | March 5, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

@ bighungry -- I did give the first posts a pass for getting Cohan wrong -- mostly because I made the same connection they did. I thought is was funny to correct the dude who made the reverse mistake.

@Pete -- "He's a consiliari?"

He would be a consiliare. Consiliari is plural -- like calling yourself an alumni, except everybody makes that mistake.

Unless you meant consilgiere....which, I hope he's not. Those Sicilian-Americans butcher the language.

Posted by: fischy | March 5, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fischys."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 5, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I-270Exit1, I'm not sure I can thank you enough for the image of Michelle Obama playing soccer with Sportacus. Amazing.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | March 5, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know that Sportacus was Icelandic. Is he Scandinavian too?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 5, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that the FMCS director is the one to be mediating this. But yes, probably better for the players given his background. I have dealt with him back in his days at Bredhoff, and he was a tiger for workers' interests.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | March 6, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: footballfan9 | March 6, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Now is the Winter of our discontent with the Administration of the Beautiful Game in North America. The Federal Mediator reporting jointly to PM Harper & Pres Obama, after consulting with his counterparts reporting to the King of Spain the President of Italy & the Queen of England must re-engineer the Beautiful Game in the northern Americas so that it is properly & only meritoriously configured*. A wise man would also consult Blatter of FIFA & very seasoned players such as Donovan & Beckham ( friend of the UK PM) & the deeply knowledgeable Gov John Crow, fmrly of the Bank of Canada & the Rt Hon John Reid, Chairman Glasgow Celtic.
As Shankly famously said 'Football is not a matter of life & death, it is more important than that!': as we shall all plainly see this Summer in South Africa. * promotion & relegation based only on results & players released to National Coaches in the same manner as every where else in the World; not as we have just seen in the Olympics, 'two days' for Hockey.
Harvard, Wharton (my Alma Mater) & Western case writers await.
Prof M H Settelen, B.Sc.(Edinburgh), MBA(Wharton)
fmr Internationals Director
Ottawa Intrepid FC

Posted by: mhsettelen | March 7, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

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