NFL employees 'aware of union actions'

Updated: September 27, 2010, 11:13 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will suffer a paycut in the event of a labor stoppage, according to a report by FoxSports.com.

The plan to decrease the salaries of Goodell as well as other top-level league brass would be the first of a three-phase plan the league has devised in the event of a lockout, according to the report.

"Our employees want to know what we would do if despite our best good-faith efforts, no agreement is reached," NFL public relations head Greg Aiello told FoxSports.com. "Our primary focus remains on negotiating a new agreement."

The other two phases of the NFL's plan involve unpaid leaves for a majority of the league's employees and further pay cuts and salary freezes for more staffers, according to the report.

NFL and NFLPA leaders are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Washington D.C. for the first time in nearly a month, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The two sides will continue discussing 18- and 17-game season proposals, along with distribution on a rookie hard cap.

Another item on the agenda will be the first ever proposal to have teams contribute to Player Pensions and addressing the NFLPA's Legacy Fund Proposal, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

The sides hope they can build on some of the momentum they felt they generated during their last labor negotiation earlier this month.

The NFLPA has been gathering votes from each team to decertify the union in the event of a lockout. So far eight teams have voted for decertification, a measure that the union says could protect the players should the owners elect to lock them out.

Antitrust laws exempt NFL owners from being sued by unions that are negotiating collective bargaining agreements, so decertification would in essence eliminate the union and allow players to sue the league in the event of a lockout -- giving them potential leverage in their dispute with the owners.

"Our employees are aware of both of the strident comments coming from the NFLPA leadership for more than a year and the union's current actions to position itself to decertify and go out of business," Aiello said.

Union spokesman George Atallah noted that the owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement with the players in 2008; it expires in March and little progress has been made in negotiating sessions.

"It's a shame that the NFL would put even more jobs at stake," Atallah said of league employees other than the players. "Neither the players, nor the employees that would be affected by this across the country, asked for this."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.