Negotiators for the National Football League and the NFL Players Association will resume talks next week, probably on Wednesday, in Washington. They last met July 23 and since have been unable to agree on a location.
The NFLPA contended it needed player representatives to be present if the talks were to be meaningful and suggested a site near one of the NFL training camps.
The NFL Management Council, the league's labor negotiating arm, said it was willing to meet anywhere but at a training camp site, contending it did not want the negotiations to disrupt training-camp schedules.
With many of the training camps ending next week, the NFLPA sent the Management Council a message yesterday suggesting a meeting in Washington, provided player representatives could be present.
"We expect to meet eight to 10 hours a day and through the weekend in an attempt to reach an agreement," said Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA. "We will have three players from the negotiating team at the meeting. We hope they (the Management Council) are serious this time."
An NFLPA spokesman said the council asked for a new offer from the players, adding it was uncertain whether the NFLPA would have a counterproposal.
Jim Miller, a Management Council spokesman, said the council agreed to the meeting and will ask the clubs to excuse player representatives from practice to attend.
The contract between the players and management expired July 15, and the two sides have made little progress toward a new agreement.
In a related development, Doug Allen, an assistant to Garvey, said the exchange of symbolic solidarity handshakes between players before kickoff will continue at this weekend's NFL preseason games.
"We are encouraging the players to demonstrate their frustration over the bargaining process," said Allen. He said the handshakes will also "point out the absurdity of the illegal fines."
After the handshakes at the first full week of exhibition agames, the Management Council ordered the clubs to fine the participating players a minimum of $100, as occurred in most cases, on the grounds that the handshakes constituted a disruption of the game.
But the union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board over the issue and asked the NLRB to seek a court injunction rescinding the fines. After meeting with William A. Lubbers, NLRB general counsel, to discuss the matter, Jack Donlan, executive director of the Management Council, recommended that the fines be rescinded.
Donlan said he was concerned that the handshakes were a prelude to other actions, such as delaying games or missing practices.