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Sources: NFLPA to decertify by March 3

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by DenverBolt67, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Sources: NFLPA plans to decertify before CBA expires Thursday - ESPN

    Absent a last-minute agreement that no one around football expects, the NFL Players Association plans to decertify by Thursday in an effort to pre-empt an owners-generated lockout, according to multiple league and union sources.

    The collective bargaining agreement says the NFLPA in effect must wait six months to decertify if it does it after the collective bargaining agreement expires. It expires at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night.

    If the union decertifies, it is no longer a union, and the National Labor Relations Board loses its hold over the NFLPA. The owners are expected to claim the decertification is a sham and challenge it in the NLRB.

    But the NFLPA is poised to act this week before it is locked out. It already has obtained unanimous approval from players across the league to decertify, a process it undertook throughout last season and the union's executive committee reaffirmed that vote this past Tuesday to empower NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith to take this action.

    The primary reason for decertification would be to file for an injunction that, if granted, would prevent the owners from locking out the players. NFLPA officials and players believe that this could be the only hope to have a full NFL season next year. Furthermore, decertifying as a union prior to the expiration of the CBA would allow NFL players to seek injunctive relief and commence anti-trust action against owners in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Doty, who has had jurisdiction over the current labor agreement since 1993. Owners have attempted unsuccessfully to have Doty removed from jurisdiction and strategically want the CBA to expire to effectively eliminate his authority, a source said.

    The NFL and NFLPA are scheduled to meet with federal mediator George Cohen one more time on Tuesday, yet after seven days of meetings last week, Cohen said significant differences still remain.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell met Friday morning with the majority of the league's ownership labor committee at the offices of the Indianapolis Colts, a league official has confirmed, briefing the 10-man group on labor negotiations.

    Nine of the 10 members of the owners' labor committee were in attendance on Friday: co-chairman Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers; Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals; Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs; Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys; Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots; Mark Murphy of the Green Bay Packers; John Mara of the New York Giants; Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers.

    Co-chairman Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos was absent but an official believed he participated via phone conference.

    In addition to being updated by Goodell and his negotiating team, the committee was expected to honor Cohen's request to assess their positions on the "important core issues" following the past week of mediated negotiations.
     
  2. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I hope either the threat of decertification or actual decertification forces the 2 sides to get something worked out so the season gets started on time
     
  3. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    The decertification was really the only card the union had left to play and don't get me wrong it's a card tat has some sway to it, but at the same time it belies and confirms what I've believed for a while which is that the average financial state of players necessitated this (i.e. too many players couldn't "afford" to go an entire year with a paycheck without becoming the bitch of the debt-collectors because they've been living beyond their means).

    It'll give us/them, free agency this year and allow teams to sign players while acting as independent contractors, however this doesn't mean that teams are just going to turn around and treat this as a free market, Major League Baseball model where the richest teams go out and throw cash galore at all the top fre agents on the market. It also means that the players no longer are subject to receiving any benefits that they otherwise would have from the league as being part of a Players Association that had collectively bargained with the League (all 32 teams as a whole) like a league minimum salary.

    The decertification is a step to more or less ensure there will be football in some capacity in 2011, but it's at best a temporary solution, because it's in the players' best interest to be unionized and collectively bargain (particularly those that aren't Top players in the league) so ultimately they're going to want a new CBA in place which will require that they certify as a union once more in order to sign/agree to such.

    Now where it gets sticky (for us and other teams) is with regard to the franchise tag (and Vincent Jackson). No certified players union means no requirement to adere to the terms of any previously agreed upon CBA's. No adherence to those terms means that there is no requirement to abide by the terms of the franchise and restricted free agent tenders. The players themselves would 'technically' be within their legal rights to shop themselves openly... the real question is whether NFL owners individually are willing to cross one another to pursue one or more of those players at a time when showing unity is something they ought to be doing.
     
  4. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but decertification didn't lead to an union-less season the last time the union did it, did it? It just forced the 2 sides to come to an agreement to prevent the owners from being sued for "unfair labor practices" but the un-unionized players never went into a season without a union.

    Maybe I am wrong, hopefully one of you can clarify
     
  5. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    There was no NFLPA from 89-93.

    Q&A: Inside a Possible NFLPA Decertification

    Tick… tick… tick… The current labor agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association is set to expire at 11:59pm ET on March 3, and with it, the expectation is the league’s owners will look to lockout the players until a new agreement is reached.

    But, the NFLPA has a trump card they hold that they hope will prevent the league from locking out the players, although it’s far from foolproof.

    The union can “decertify”, or as we’ll see, technically, “disclaim”. What does it all mean, and why does it possibly stop a lockout? Here’s a Q&A:

    What does decertification do?
    The union would dissolve, thus making the players independently hired and therefore could individually sue the league under anti-trust laws in conducting a “boycott” of the players. Under labor law, a union cannot sue an employer.

    What would the union be then?
    Ostensibly a trade association. Their union standing would be gone.

    When’s the earliest the owners could lock the players out?
    It has to occur after the current CBA expires. In other words, no earlier than midnight on March 4

    When could the NFLPA decertify?
    To block a lockout it has to occur before the current CBA expires.

    When do you think that might be?
    There is one last mediation session scheduled for Tues. To keep “good faith bargaining” in play, the NFLPA would likely not do so any earlier than when those meetings end and 11:59pm on March 3.

    Why before, and not after the CBA expires?
    Wording within the CBA states that if union exists after the current agreement, they cannot seek labor exemption. The CBA reads:

    Following the expiration of the express term of this Agreement, then, if the NFLPA is in existence as a union, the Parties agree that none of the Class Members (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) nor any player represented by the NFLPA shall be able to commence an action, or assert a claim, under the antitrust laws for conduct occurring, until either: (i)the Management Council and NFLPA have bargained to impasse; or (ii) six(6) months after such expiration, whichever is later; at that time, the Parties reserve any arguments they may make regarding the application of the labor exemption.

    (b) The Parties agree that, after the expiration of the express term of this Agreement, in the event that at that time or any time thereafter a majority of players indicate that they wish to end the collective bargaining status of the NFLPA on or after expiration of this Agreement, the NFL and its Clubs and their respective heirs, executors, administrators, representatives, agents, successors and assigns waive any rights they may have to assert any antitrust labor exemption defense based upon any claim that the termination by the NFLPA of its status as a collective bargaining representative is or would be a sham, pretext, ineffective, requires additional steps, or has not in fact occurred.

    Has this been done before?
    Yes. In 1989 the NFLPA did this very thing – decertification – which set up a legal battle and allowed for play to continue while the sides continued to hammer out an agreement.

    If they did this before, why is there an NFLPA, now?
    The union re-established itself in 1993

    Wait a second, how can they decertify again?
    That will be the NFL’s argument: that the move is a sham being done to get out from bargaining in good faith.

    What makes you say that will be their argument?
    Because the league has filed a preemptive strike on the NFLPA’s preemptive strike. In that I mean, the NFL filed charges against the NFLPA for unfair labor practices (see the full text here), thus attempting to show that decertification is a “sham”. Here’s the applicable text:

    These tactics have been and are integral to – indeed, they are in preparation for – the NFLPA’s announced strategy to run out the clock and, after the CBA expires on March 3, purport to “disclaim interest” as the representative of the NFL players, a strategy utilized by the Union in a prior negotiation and one that the NFLPA often has threatened to resort to in this negotiation should it be deemed more advantageous to the players that the collective bargaining process that the Union is obligated by law to follow. On the false premise that the bargaining relationship would effectively be terminated as a result of its sham disclaimer, the NFLPA has made it plain that it will then seek (i) to enjoin, as a supposed antitrust violation, and effort by the League/Clubs in support of their bargaining demands to exercise their rights under federal law lawfully to lock out the players, and (ii) once again to achieve a favorable agreement with the NFLMC through the threat, commencement and subsequent settlement of antitrust litigation, rather than through the give and take of good faith collective bargaining completed by the Act and enforced by the National Labor Relations Board.


    As in the past, the NFLPA’s threatened disclaimer as the representatives of the players, together with the now-familiar antitrust litigation that is expected to follow, is a ploy and an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process, there is no evidence whatsoever of any (let alone widespread) disaffection with the Union by its members. It is both the reason for and proof of the NFLPA’s failure to approach there negotiations with a sincere desire to reach a new agreement at the bargaining table as opposed to the courthouse. The NFLPA’s statements and conduct over the course of the last 20 months plainly establishes that it does not intend to engage in good faith collective bargaining with the NFL after the CBA expires or otherwise meet its obligations under Section 8(d) of the Act, and that it instead will pursue its goal on behalf of the players by pretending to disclaim interest as their Section 9(a) representative and then sue the NFL under the antitrust laws. The Union’s strategy amounts to unlawful anticipatory refusal to bargain.


    The Union is contriving, through its inevitable sham disclaimer, to make the NFL’s post-expiration conduct appear “sufficiently distant” from the collective bargaining process that the Union’s pursuit of antitrust remedies would not significantly interfere with that process 1. The Union will now, however, genuinely be defunct or otherwise irrevocably removed from the NFL/NFLPA collective bargaining relationship.

    Wait, you said the union and league were involved in federal mediation. How does that play with all of this?
    The NFLPA can argue that in going to the mediation sessions they are trying to reach an agreement, and therefore, the plans for decertification were not an endgame strategy but only done to allow play to continue.

    Can the union decertify without decertifying? Why does the filing by the NFL say nothing about “decertification”?
    We’re getting way down in the weeds here, but, yes. The union “disclaims” itself, while employees (in this case the players) can vote to “decertify”

    Have they done that?
    According to reports by Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal and Daily, it’s unclear. A sidebar in today’s edition of the “Morning Buzz” by the editors of the SBD write, “While NFLPA members were reported to have voted for decertification in the fall, it's unclear if that was simply a vote to approve of disclaimer, if necessary.”

    This all doesn’t sound like we’re going to have a new CBA come March 4. Are we?

    Anything is possible – pigs could fly – but at this stage the answer seems clearly, no.

    What happens then?
    The CBA could be amended to allow for an extension of talks. It would have to be approved by Judge Doty, and would likely only be done if there was a feeling that the sides were close enough to reaching a new CBA that there were minor differences.

    Are there just “minor differences”?
    No. In fact the federal mediation process garnered no movement on the key issues that the owners are seeking – an additional $1 billion in expense credits, an 18 game regular season, and a “rookie” wage scale.

    When will it all end?
    Anything is possible, but don’t expect “soon”. A case can be made that both sides won’t be satisfied until financial pain is inflicted. If the players are going to have to give up concessions, then they will likely only do that until owners are somehow hurt, as well. That would seem to point to the preseason being lost – possible one or two regular season games. One thing is certain… fans are not going to be the winners in all of this.

    RELATED NFL LABOR CONTENT:

    Source: Chances of New NFL CBA By March 4 "Nearly Impossible" (The Biz of Football)

    With Week to go till NFL CBA Expires, Federal Mediator says "Very Strong Differences" Remain (The Biz of Football)
    Big Difference Between NFL and NBA Labor Disputes Boils Down to the Supreme Court (The Biz of Football)
    A Cold War Mounts, Here's Why a Lockout in the NFL Near Certain (The Biz of Football)
    Complete Text of NFL Charges Against NFLPA for Unfair Labor Practices (The Biz of Football)
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    Numbers Show NFL’s ‘Economic Realities’ for Lockout Unwarranted (Forbes)
    Rain on NFL Parade? (Variety)
    How MLB Became the Example of Peacemakers (FanGraphs)
     
  6. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    So they did go nearly 4 years without a union. Interesting
     
  7. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Yeah, not sure i would like the idea if I was joe lineman....
     
  8. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Yeah, got to agree. But then again, Joe Linemen probably doesn't have a huge nest egg where he can afford to sit out a full season, and would rather play without a union rather than sit with one
     
  9. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Hard call. I know BR talked before about the stike season. Some players crossed the lines, and the bad blood carried on well after the conflict ended.
     
  10. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

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    If they dissolve the union, the owners don't have to allow them to unionize again, right?
     
  11. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    how would they stop them? Refuse to sign them?
     
  12. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    And for the record, last time the union decertified - then they still couldn' come to terms so the players went on strike, but the strike ended after only a couple weeks because folks crossed and the PA notoriously didn't have a properly budgeted strike fund to pay the players on strike. And based off the fact that the union was encouraging players to save their earnings and stash them away, I have to assume that they would be lacking the escrow account to back such a fund in this case as well.
     
  13. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Difference is, this isn't a strike. So there is no line to cross
     
  14. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    It will be interesting to see what happens come the fourth. If a major part of the season is lost due to this dispute the average fan may walk away.
     
  15. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

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    I assume the owners could just refuse to employee anyone in a union, correct? Seems to me like decertification would be a golden opportunity to cut the cord. Can you imagine how fast Ford and GM would jump at the chance to get out from under the UAW?
     
  16. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    I wish GM could have done that BEFORE their stock went bankrupt!
     
  17. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    I am not average, but I am walking
     
  18. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    without a union, do they need a draft?
     
  19. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

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    Sure. Most of the rules would stay the same, it's just that supply and demand would dictate the wage and benefit scale.
     
  20. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    if you dont have a CBA, what rules say you have to have a draft?
     
  21. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

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    The same rule that says you have a salary cap and revenue sharing. The NFL, like any employer, still has to have rules to keep it in business. The draft process is good for the game, so it's good for the NFL as a business.
     
  22. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Yes. Teams still have to have a method of getting new talent in a fair and equitable manner. Remember, the owners are only unified to a point.
     
  23. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    They could. But do you think the Colts would choose to not bring back a majority of their players? Cowboys, or any team. Replacement players are only a bandaid. "He hate me" was a big fish in a small pond, the NFL does not want to drain their lake.

    They could go hard line and say they will not hire unionized employees, but it will hurt them, and they know it. Unless they could get the player solidarity to crack, and get big name stars to cross the lines.
     
  24. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    WHAAAAT!?!

    If you dont think there is a line to cross, you are not following the issues. Players v. Management, the players HAVE to stay unified, there is a line.
     
  25. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    but without a CBA behind them, how can they draft? If I was a player who was drafted by a team that I did not want to play for, why cant I go where I want to? Where is it written that I cannot do that? As a player I could careless what the owners want, I want to play for a certain team, and if I cant, then why cant I take them to court?
     
  26. ntman68

    ntman68 Well-Known Member

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    That's just it. The owners hold all the cards here. So say for arguments sake the owners play hard-a$$ and don't allow any players back who are part of a union. That first season might be ugly with scabs and whatnot, but lots of players would come back to the game. Some NFL players have college degrees and skills outside of the game, but there are lots that don't. For many of these guys making $150K playing football is much better than getting $7 an hour at Taco Bell.

    It could very well be that supply and demand pushes salaries right back up to there current levels, but I imagine there are guys out there willing to play for less.
     
  27. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    they were given a free ride in college, I do not feel sorry for those that do not get a diploma.
     
  28. The LBC

    The LBC I'm a Real Prick

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    Because the CBA almost entirely deals with outlining and fleshing out the wage, benefits, and ethical treatment of players and will sometimes carry provisions to detail items such as the franchise tender or restricte free agency because they relate to the aforementoned.

    However, the draft has to do with the process of admission into the league. You do no have to be a member of the union to be draft eligible, however under previous CBA's that were contracted between the League and the Union you had to join the union if you contracted with a league team. As a decertified Players Assoiation the NFLPA doesn't have the sway to force incoming players to join their fold if they are not unionized.

    Similarly, a formal salary cap would require a collective bargaining agreement in order to be instituted, because it woud be a uniformly followed practice by all 32 individual teams and would be evidence of "collusion" by 32 individual businesses seeking to limit the earning potential of individual, non-unionized players. That doesn't mean that each individual team (whether a salary cap exists in a given league year or not) don't have self-regulated spending limits relative to project income and expenses - so as to ensure maintaining a desired profit minimum. So long as there is no formal agreement among the owners (i.e. voted upon at owners meetings or documented in any way) there really is nothing stopping them from reining in themselves and mutually capping their annual spending on wages because ultimately the burden of proof is on the prosecution/accuser to prove, thus the players and their lawyers wuld be responsible for finding and providing evidenciary support to there being collusion in order to substantiate their case and have hope for a successful suit.
     
  29. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Was there a draft before the CBA? Players in the event of a lock out are 'owned' by the drafting team for i believe two years. If the player goes to play for another pro football organization (USFL, Canadian etc.) the duration becomes two years I believe.... This is all going from memory of what I posted before.

    The CBA is not needed to have the draft.
     
  30. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Screw em both, bring on college ball.
     

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