Monday, November 26, 2012

NHL labor dispute to get some Federal intercession

From Bob McKenzie of TSN: "NHL and NHLPA have agreed to allow U.S. federal mediators to get involved in the labor dispute. Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, Director of Mediation Services John Sweeney, and Commissioner Guy Serota to serve as the mediators."
The mediation process is slated to begin on Wednesday in an undisclosed location, according to several Canadian sources. 

Mediation was a course attempted in the last lockout, but by that time, in February of 2005, both sides were so entrenched and so far apart that even emergency sessions in Washington, DC did not make a dent. The 2004-05 season was called off days later.  

If mediation were such a desirable and dependable method of resolving labor disputes in the sporting world, it would be tried much sooner than the hour trouble strikes. Those who criticize the NHL/PA for not acting upon this sooner miss the fact that it's only when head-to-head discussions break down that mediation is ever considered or most useful.

Non-binding mediation, as this new step apparently will be approached, means that the principals involved aren't after a means to an end, just a means toward getting both sides to drop pretenses and move themselves towards some kind of accord.

Thus, it's only as good as the willingness of the league and the union to listen to each other and process what the mediators offer to both sides so that the goal of a new CBA is achieved.

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