View Full Version : NLRB could be ready to rule if no agreement is reached

10-28-2011, 08:41 PM
If you wonder what was the difference in owners and players coming together this past week to reach a deal, now you know why.

Both sides don't want it to come down to an NRLB ruling, but if it does, at least we'll be closer to starting the season.

There's more in the link


How imminent is the NLRB decision?

The players filed their charges in May. The NLRB staff will not publicly discuss pending cases, but sources say the board completed its investigation several weeks ago and submitted a large quantity of material to NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon. Although a decision could come any day, two factors might be delaying an announcement. The first is Solomon's role in the politically explosive Boeing litigation initiated by Solomon, a complaint that challenges the manufacturer's attempt to move a plant to South Carolina to avoid a union contract in the state of Washington. It is a demanding case that has produced ripples of controversy in the U.S. Congress and in presidential politics. The second is the possibility that Solomon is waiting to see if the players and owners can forge an agreement. He attempted for three months to settle the Boeing issues -- he testified about it at a Congressional committee hearing -- before he finally filed the complaint. If there is an agreement in the NBA, the board can avoid entering into another high-profile controversy.
How much of a factor in the current negotiating process is the impending NLRB ruling about whether the players are correct in their charges that the owners have indulged harsh and illegal bargaining?

It is important. Both commissioner David Stern and union president Derek Fisher make public statements about their attempts to salvage a full season, but both are concerned about the NLRB decision. Recognizing that a ruling might be imminent, the two sides picked up the pace of the negotiating this week. Both sides want to see what they can achieve in bargaining before they face the possibility of losing in the NLRB case. It is similar to the frantic bargaining in the final stages of the NFL lockout as both sides anticipated the possibilities of victory and defeat in the television network litigation involving payments to the owners during the lockout for games that would not be played. In the case of the NFL, the bargaining in the shadow of an important legal decision led to an agreement.

How important is the NLRB decision?

Whether the board decides for the players or the owners, it will change the topography of the dispute. If the players prevail, the owners may face a court action that will end their lockout. That would be a dramatic enhancement of the players' leverage in the negotiations. It would also be a vindication of NBPA chief Billy Hunter's decision to avoid the lengthy process of disclaiming union status and pursuing antitrust litigation (as the NFLPA did during the lockout in that league earlier this year) and instead rely on the labor board and its procedures. The most important example of a players' triumph in an NLRB decision came in the Major League Baseball strike of 1994-95 when the players were successful at the NLRB and then obtained a court decision that ended the owners' efforts for a radical restructuring of baseball. The court decision by then-federal district judge Sonia Sotomayor forced to owners to abandon their attacks on free agency, high-low arbitration and the anti-collusion clause in their contract with the players.

If, on the other hand, the board rejects the players' charge, the owners will enjoy a significant increase in the leverage they have created with their lockout. The players would be left at the bargaining table facing the possibility of the loss of a season, likely becoming desperate to make any deal they can.

10-28-2011, 08:44 PM
If they come in doesn't that negate everyone's contract? So wouldn't everyone be a FA?