One preseason game of the NFL's 2011 season was lost to a labor dispute, the start of the 2011-2012 season was infamously delayed due to a player's strike and the NHL lost a whole season back in 2004-2005.
Well, apparently the AFL wants to emulate major leagues sports the same way a kid might copy his older brother's clothes. According to Foxsports.com, last week the game between the Cleveland Gladiators and Pittsburgh Power had to be cancelled because of a player's strike.
Basically, the AFL and its player's union have been unable to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, no different than any other sports league. However, the issues in negotiating a new CBA are much different from more monied sports leagues. For instance, one change the player's union is seeking is to have player's not pay their own travel costs when they are traded.
According to Fox's article, Jacksonville Sharks head coach Les Moss sent out an email last week essentially preemptively looking for replacement players in the event of a full players' strike. "The possibility exists of a lockout in the near future," says Moss in the open letter.
While the AFL does represent the highest level of indoor football, it sure seems like the player's union doesn't have much leverage — however reasonable their demands might be. If all the players in the league are replaced, will anyone really notice? The league does occassionally yield NFL talent — perhaps most famously, Kurt Warner — but these kinds of cases are relatively few and far between.
So, we'll just have to wait and see whether the AFL fixes its labor issues, or goes the way of the XFL or the North American Soccer League.