Lambeau Field, Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers on Sunday October 7 2007. (The Bears ran out 27-20 winners.) w:Korey Hall at running back, w:Brett Favre at quarterback, others unsure.
The National Football League referees lockout is over, and all it took was scab officiating that actually deteriorated to the point where a Las Vegas casino offered refunds on bets on Monday night's Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game. Though the members of the NFL Referees Association won't vote on the tentative deal until Friday and Saturday, they will officiate Thursday night's game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. The deal, if approved, will last for eight years (that's long), and:
Tentatively, it calls for their salaries to increase from an average of $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.

Under the proposal, the current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season or until the official earns 20 years of service. The defined benefit plan will then be frozen.

Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement. The annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019.

Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option to hire a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year round, including on the field. The NFL also will be able to retain additional officials for training and development, and can assign those officials to work games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the league.

This involves the NFL making a significant concession on pensions. Though the officials' pensions will ultimately be frozen, NFL management wanted them gone right away. It's a concession that probably wouldn't have been made without the outrage over Monday night's game.

The real, union refs will be a major improvement over the scab refs, but their first games may be a little rusty as they've missed the opportunity the preseason usually affords to sharpen their skills. However, the officials have been preparing to come back by watching video and taking rules tests.

Now the players of the National Hockey League are the only running sports lockout as their league's owners and management go for the greed.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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