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09-25-2003, 09:10 PM
David A. Rainer
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Originally Posted by hillbillypriest
I understand the theory to be that if you as a player are dealing with the whole league as a single corporate entity, you have to accept the terms of employment, which may include some terms that would be judged anti-competitive restraints under a normal sports league structure. A player considering employment is free to seek employment elsewhere if he does not accept the terms of employment. In this context, then, a collective bargaining arrangement is not a part of the package at all. A single entity league is effectively a strategy to do an end run around the need to establish terms of employment in a give and take bargaining processes where restrictive labour practices can only be imposed through the consent of the counterpart union.
Players are always free to unionize, single entity or other wise. So there remains two options: 1.) no negotiation with the union by the single entity (the "take it or leave it" approach); or 2.) negotiate with the union but free yourself from anti-trust laws (the "let's see what kind of a deal we can make now that I have the feds off my back" approach).

Currently, MLS soccer players are not unionized (although they've been trying to for a about a year now) so MLS has complete freedom to restrict. But that is not to say that the players cannot become unionized and strike to obtain a CBA. It's not that a single entity can always just mandate restrictions on the players. They can do that as long as there is no union (as with the MLS). Once there is a union, then you've got problems with players looking to strike and the single entity will either have to negotiate or find new players. Obviously, the NHL players are unionized and if the NHL went single entity, you can bet your sweet bippy that the players would strike to obtain a CBA.

It's not an end-around the bargaining process. It's an end-around anti-trust laws. It appears to be an end-around the bargaining process with MLS because their players are not unionized (or at least they weren't as of last year, are they now?). Look at it this way. Take your local supermarket chain, let's say Albertson's (those are every in SoCal but I don't know if they have them in other parts of the country). It is a single entity but it's employees are unionized and work under a CBA. Then you look at Walmart. It's a single entity, is not unionized, but it's workers are slowly unionizing (I think there are a handful of Walmarts that are now unionized). Being a single entity does not block unionization and negotiation for a CBA. Being a single entity only bars the feds from enforcing anti-trust laws against you.

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