Local political leaders call on NFL, players to avoid labor strife

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A dozen mostly Democratic San Diego political leaders signed a labor-backed public letter released Monday, calling for the National Football League and players to avoid labor strife that could wipe out the 2011 season.

The NFL and its players association have three weeks to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, and there is concern the owners could order a lockout. Depending on how long it takes the two sides to reach an agreement, a lockout could result in the loss of part of all of next season.

The letter urged the two sides to reach a new deal, citing an estimate that each NFL city would lose $160 million if the season were called off.

“Our local businesses benefit from avid NFL fans, including visitors who stay in San Diego hotels when they travel here to attend Chargers games,” the letter states. “With the current economic downturn, we must do everything we can to protect our local economy.”

The letter was signed by Rep. Bob Filner; state senators Juan Vargas and Christine Kehoe; Assembly members Toni Atkins, Marty Block and Ben Hueso; county Supervisor Greg Cox and Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister; and San Diego City Council members Marti Emerald, Todd Gloria, Sherri Lightner and Tony Young.

Cox is the only Republican officeholder on the list. McAllister holds a non-partisan office.

The letter, sponsored by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, was written to raise public awareness of the impact of a possible lockout. Copies will be sent to the league office and players association, according to the council.

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