MLS May Bring In Replacement RefsKSTP.com reports that Major League Soccer (MLS) may be forced to start its season with replacement referees.  Last May, the National Labor Relations Board certified the Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA) as the official union of MLS referees.  Problematically, the PSRA has not reached a contract with the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the entity tasked with overseeing referees in U.S. and Canadian soccer leagues.  A statement by MLS provided that the show would go on, regardless of whether replacement refs had to be used.

"We will be opening up this weekend with referees, and we are absolutely in a position to have a contingency plan in the event that those discussions don’t end positively," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday. "We have so many things that we’re gearing up for with our 2014 season. Nothing is going to stop us from having a strong opening and to continue to grow this league."

To complicate matters further, last month the PSRA voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike if leadership found the action necessary.  We will keep you posted as this story continues to unfold.

IL Hospital Workers Could Strike MondayChristoper Placek of the Chicago Daily Herald writes that nurses employed by Maryville Behavioral Health Hospital in Des Plaines, IL have filed a notice of their intent to strike.  Accordingly, nurses could be hitting the pickets as early as this coming Monday, March 10.  The parties have been negotiating since February of 2013, but have not come to an agreement over salary and staffing issues.  Further negotiations are set to take place this Friday. 

LIRR Talks ContinueEmily Webb of the LIHerald writes that contract talks between the union representing Long Island Railroad employees and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have thus far been largely fruitless.  Unless progress is made, and fast, the union could strike as early as July.  Based on last year’s BART strike in San Francisco, such a strike could have a major economic impact on the region.  No further talks are currently scheduled.  However, the National Mediation Board has invited both sides to Washington, D.C. for a sit-down.  We will keep you posted on any progress made.

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