Unfair labor practice alleged against MLS refs

NEW YORK (AP) The organization that manages game officials for Major League Soccer has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union it locked out, accusing the referees of attempting to intimidate replacements.

The Professional Referee Organization made the filing with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, three days after the lockout began. The Professional Soccer Referees Association previously filed a pair of unfair labor practice charges against PRO, which also are pending.

”PSRA had inaccurately told replacement officials in a March 7 e-mail that they would not be eligible to work for PRO in the future if they chose to work as replacements in games on March 8,” Pro general manager Peter Walton, a former English Premier League referee, said in a statement Monday. ”This is not true and the threat is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.”

PSRA vice president Steven Taylor said the statement Walton referred to came from an individual union member and was meant to indicate the unionized referees had a right to return to their jobs after the lockout ends.