The National Football League Players Association last night postponed until today its scheduled poll of union player representatives on whether or not to recommend ratification of a tentative contract settlement with NFL management, an NFLPA spokesman said.
The poll, originally scheduled for yesterday, will precede a vote Friday by the NFLPA general membership on whether or not to ratify the Nov. 16 agreement that ended the union's 57-day strike against the NFL. On Nov. 16 in New York the player representatives voted, 19-6, with two absences and one abstention, to accept the agreement and send it on to the players for their approval or rejection.
Yesterday's vote was postponed because Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFLPA, and Jack Donlan, the league's chief labor negotiator, and their aides met during the day and into the evening to rework language in parts of the proposed settlement, which the league says provides for $1.6 billion in total player costs over a five-year period.
Management has insisted the Nov. 16 agreement was a complete deal and there will be no modifications. The union is seeking language that would ensure its members protection against any expansion of the regular-season NFL schedule without additional compensation. The union also does not want to agree to management demands to extend the college draft in its present form through 1992.
Although the board of player representatives voted to send the package to the general membership two weeks ago, union President Gene Upshaw said last week he expected the player representatives would recommend a vote against the offer in its present form.
That recommendation, however, is not binding on the union's rank and file, many of whom have said they plan to vote for ratification. The NFL already has played two games since the strike ended on Nov. 16 and union leaders have said there is little sentiment for resuming the walkout should the players reject the proposal.
Donlan has said there will be no resumption of negotiations if the settlement is rejected and that some terms of the tentative settlement will be reduced if the players turn it down.