WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO is standing behind the NFL Players Association after a group of retired players filed a grievance against the union.
Twenty former NFL players signed a letter requesting that the NFLPA be expelled from the AFL-CIO for failing to meet its obligation to retirees.
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But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement Thursday that "we should all applaud the fierce advocacy the NFLPA has demonstrated for its members, and for all working people."
He says the union has secured "significant gains for both active and former players."
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah says "the NFLPA is proud of the more than $1 billion in benefits current NFL players created for former NFL players and we are proud of our strong affiliation with the AFL-CIO."
A federal judge last month dismissed a lawsuit filed by retirees against the NFLPA. The group, led by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, filed an appeal Thursday with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
The retirees contended they were pushed out of NFL labor negotiations last year to streamline the mediation process despite a court order for their inclusion.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press