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Monday, December 17, 2012
NHLPA Begins Process to Disband

Building off Nathaniel Grow's excellent post from yesterday, various sources report that the NHL players have indeed begun voting to allow their union's executive board to file a formal "disclaimer of interest." This disclaimer of interest would end the union's collective bargaining relationship with the NHL -- making it easier for the players to bring an antitrust claim against the league.

If the NHL players vote favorably, it would mark the fourth time in sports-labor history that a players union has gone this route. The first was on November 3, 1989, when the NFLPA voted to renounce collective bargaining and then filed a labor organization termination notice with the U.S. Department of Labor -- leading to the Powell III, McNeil and White lawsuits. The second and third involved the NFLPA and NBPA -- both in 2011.

For more on past use of this strategy and its outcomes, see my article from this morning on Forbes SportsMoney.


I will never understand why the players have waited so long to disband the union. Without a union the non-statutory labor exemption goes away and the owners would not be able to have a salary cap, luxury tax, max salary, max contract length, or any of the other concessions the owners are trying to wring out of the players. Decertify the union and let the owners be on the hook for triple damages for every paycheck missed. The biggest downside to decertification is that it takes time for the legal process to proceed but if you are potentially going to miss a season, miss it while earning triple your salary.

Anonymous Damon -- 12/17/2012 2:37 PM  

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