Fire wait with baited breath for positive news over CBA negotiations

Pause, Thorrington head to Washington for 11th-hour union talks

Fire midfielders Logan Pause and John Thorrington didn't
train with the team Monday or Tuesday.
Instead, the pair of central midfielders -- who also happen to be the
Fire's Union Representatives -- were in Washington, D.C., sitting in on
collective bargaining agreement negotiations between MLS and the Players
Union.  

"We haven’t heard from them yet," Fire forward
Brian McBride said to a group of reporters after the Fire's Tuesday morning
practice. "I'm sure they’ll
be back with some news [on Wednesday]." 

All parties involved will be hoping that Thorrington and
Pause come back to Chicago bearing good news. Thus far, negotiations for a new CBA have been progressing
slowly. The current deal expired
last month and the players have already decided that they will strike should no
new agreement be hashed out before the scheduled season opener on March 24
between the Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders.

"We're hoping that this week is a big change for them
and that they’ve at least considered some of our proposal," said veteran
Fire defender C.J. Brown after Tuesday's training session.  "It's pretty much out there. If
they don’t want to budge on anything then it’s a done deal -- we'll strike and
hope for the best."

The main sticking point in negotiations has been the issue
of free agency. Ultimately, neither McBride nor Brown wants to see the
players strike. But both are
serious about what they want to see change and they each understand the reality
of what will happen if the league and the players can’t agree to a new deal
before next Thursday’s First Kick.  

“Guys don’t want to strike; they want to play,” Brown said. “They would rather be playing than
sitting at home or doing something else so hopefully we can come up with an
agreement.”

“It’s not something that you ever want to do,” McBride said
of a potential strike.  “We enjoy
doing this and it’s a great job, but unfortunately, things like this come up.
It’s just like any other business. You have to understand that different groups have different things they
want and you can hopefully come to an agreement. But as players, we feel very strongly about some of the
things we are pushing for.”