By Helene Elliott
3:53 PM PST, November 26, 2012
The NHL and the NHL Players' Assn. have agreed to take their labor dispute to federal mediators in an effort to reach an agreement that would preserve part of the 2012-13 season.
George H. Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said in a statement Monday that the league and the union had consented to involve mediators in the process. The league locked out players on Sept. 15 and has canceled the All-Star game and regular-season games through Dec. 14, including the showcase Winter Classic outdoor game.
Cohen said he had assigned three mediators to the negotiations. The NHL and the union agreed to mediation during the last league-imposed lockout but not until much later in the process. In that dispute, Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season in February, a few days after mediators had become involved.
Here's Cohen’s statement:
"I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement. At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices. I have assigned Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, Director of Mediation Services John Sweeney, and Commissioner Guy Serota to serve as the mediators.
“Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s long-standing practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of the negotiations until further notice.”
[Updated, 3:23 p.m., Nov. 26: Later Monday, George H. Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said he had removed mediator Guy Serota from the proceedings.
"Within one hour after I issued a news release announcing that further negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA would be conducted under the auspices of the FMCS, it has been called to my attention that there are issues involving an allegedly hacked Twitter account associated with Commissioner Guy Serota, one of the mediators I assigned," Cohen said. "Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this assignment." ]
Here's a link to the agency's website, with an explanation of what it does.
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