Saturday, December 15, 2012

The lockout is headed to court

Late Thrusday night the NHLPA Executive Board approved putting a Disclaimer of Interest to a vote by its full membership. An approval would mean would mean that the union would walk away from the players it represents thus dissolving the union.

The move would then be followed by anti-trust suits by individual players against the NHL.

The NHL, swiftly filed papers in New York Friday morning asking a federal court to deem the NHL lockout legal while simultaneously filing an "unfair labor practice" charge against the NHLPA with the National Labor Relations Board saying the tactic is merely a way "to extract more favourable terms and conditions of employment."

"The Union has threatened to pursue this course not because it is defunct or otherwise incapable of representing NHL players for purposes of collective bargaining, nor because NHL players are dissatisfied with the representation they have been provided by the NHLPA," read the NHL complaint.
"The NHLPA's threatened decertification or disclaimer is nothing more than an impermissable negotiating tactic, which the Union incorrectly believes would enable it to commence an antitrust challenge to the NHL's lockout."

If you thought the negotiations were getting complicated, being overwhelmed by legalities and legal precedents represents utter insanity.

It's here that we'll just pass it on to the legal "experts" and rely on trusted journalists for direction.

CBC's Elliotte Friedman steps up to the plate here, Explaining the NHL's latest move.

First off, everybody pretty much knows the NHL launched a "pre-emptive" strike against the NHLPA. In addition to the legal aspects, there's also the state where the papers were filed. It's believed that New York State, according to Friedman and others, is more 'pro-employer.'

Getting into the nuts and bolts of the matter, somewhat, Friedman points out that the NHL, unlike the NBA who also was faced with decertification, plans on using "quotes and tweets" from players to back there claim that union dissolution is nothing more than a negotiating tactic.

Unfortunately for Sabres fans, outspoken goalie Ryan Miller is being used as an example. The league, according to Friedman, pulled this from a Globe and Mail article dated Nov. 22: "Decertification becomes part of the script," Miller was quoted as saying..."[and] is a push back and should show we want a negotiation and a fair deal on at least some of our terms."'

Friedman delves into other areas such as the gamble--on both sides--decertification poses and also makes other parallels between the NHL lockout and the NBA lockout--both sides being represented by the same legal counsel that represented the NBA and the NBAPA.

The NHL jumped pretty fast to get this into the courts because of the NHLPA Executive Committee decision to put decertification to a vote. One would think that NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and his charges knew this was coming, as Friedman states, "It shouldn't be a surprise the players sent a trial balloon before jumping in with two feet, because they are trying to determine if an actual attempt to do it will result in a cancellation of the season."

This could actually be somewhat fun.

Based upon the Heckyl and Jeckyl theatrics of Thursday, December 6, when Fehr sent Gary Bettman and Bill Daly into a fit of rage, this could be even better.

Of course they could all get together and finalize the deal.

But that would be too simple and maybe not as much fun for those of us who find dark humor entertaining.

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