The NBA owners and players have made little progress toward ending the three-month-old lockout so they are heading to mediation.
The two sides are bringing in federal mediator George Cohen to oversee negotiations. Cohen will be at the table Tuesday when the players and owners reopen negotiations in New York.
Cohen won’t be coming in cold as representatives from the NBA owners and players association reached out to him in recent months. Cohen also served as federal mediator for the NFL owners and players earlier this year before they ultimately resolved their labor dispute.
“I have participated in separate, informal, off-the-record discussions with the principals representing the NBA and the NBPA concerning the status of their collective bargaining negotiations,” Cohen said in a statement issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
“It is evident that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce — i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played.”
Cohen is a veteran labor lawyer who taught at Georgetown Law School for many years. He was appointed by President Obama to head the mediation service two years ago.
After negotiations on Monday failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the first two weeks of the regular season had been canceled.
This report has information obtained from the Associated Press.
(Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)