A day after most teams kicked off the 2010-11 season, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other top members of the union chided owners for a "hard-line" stance in their negotiations with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
"As leaders of the AFL-CIO ... we are troubled by the prospect of significant job losses off the field and a spiraling impact on communities if the owners lock out the players and force cancellation of games," Trumka wrote with Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker.
The letter is part of an effort to frame collective bargaining negotiations between NFL owners and the NFLPA, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after this season, and owners are looking to grab a larger share of revenues than they currently enjoy under present agreements. They also are expected to push for an 18-game season while cutting preseason games from four to two.
The players are expected to demand that more money in contracts be guaranteed. Players in the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have more money guaranteed than NFL players.
A lockout would cost each NFL city at least $140 million, the labor leaders wrote, with a reverberating effect on stadium, hotel and restaurant workers.
The AFL-CIO officials also hinted that they might look to leverage political support behind the players' cause if owners force a lockout next season.
"We will work with the NFLPA to reach out to local elected officials in team cities and members of Congress to inform them of the imminent job losses on lost revenue if NFL owners choose to lock out the players," they said.
Players have already reached out to lawmakers about the possibility of a lockout with a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill early this year.