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Mirtle: NHLPA’s hard-liners hint at decertification after latest offer rejected

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Old
11-22-2012, 08:24 AM
  #51
IBleedUnionBlue
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I believe that the NHL will be pushed to decertification.

Here also is a story written by Helene Elliott from LA Times.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-...,0,82640.story

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11-22-2012, 08:29 AM
  #52
Erik Estrada
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1. The players voted on decertification in a phone conference this week. Presumably, they would have decertified if they had voted yes. It's not a hypothetical, it's a reality.

2. The players would not be represented by the PA. In the NFL, the lawsuits were in the name of "Tom Brady and other players" and in the NBA they were in the name of "Carmelo Anthony and other players". No more union anymore, but a form of player association instead...

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11-22-2012, 08:34 AM
  #53
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It would be interesting to see the timing.

I think decert happens if the NHL cancels the rest of the season-at that point, it might be a "we've lost the season, nothing left to lose here" and decertification. The question, does that mean we're looking at 2013-14 as a casualty as well?

Also, I have a feeling that if decert does happen, it will be interesting to see what the owners do. Heck the NHL already set precident by being the only "major" sport to lose an entire season-I'm willing to almost bet they'll set another one: the first sport to permanently go to a "decertified/best player for hire" model.

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11-22-2012, 08:38 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Tinalera View Post
It would be interesting to see the timing.

I think decert happens if the NHL cancels the rest of the season-at that point, it might be a "we've lost the season, nothing left to lose here" and decertification. The question, does that mean we're looking at 2013-14 as a casualty as well?
I don't think it affects the general negotiation strategy of either the League or the Players. If the Players or the League crack in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 10 months, decertification or not, it's over.

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11-22-2012, 08:40 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Erik Estrada View Post
I don't think it affects the general negotiation strategy of either the League or the Players. If the Players or the League crack in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 10 months, decertification or not, it's over.
True, however I see the owners pretty much saying a big "nuts to you" if they did decert-the players better be fully onboard with it, because the owners will effectively tell players "come back to us in a few months, because you aren't playing this year period."

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11-22-2012, 08:40 AM
  #56
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Why would anyone but the mega-stars of the sport want to decertify? Would decertification not lead to a state of affairs where the mega-stars would get mega-deals (we're talking Alex Rodriguez type money & term) while the bottom half of each roster would get table scraps? Where the Leafs became the Yankees of the sport and the lesser lights slashed & burned payroll like the Marlins?

I haven't been able to understand the PA's motives in this lockout right from the start, so I shouldn't be surprised that I can't understand this either. It seems like a no-brainer to me that, for the players as a whole, they will always do a lot better with the union than without it.

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11-22-2012, 08:40 AM
  #57
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so if the union goes goodbye, can teams dump injured players? awesome!

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11-22-2012, 08:42 AM
  #58
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If the PA is at a stage where it cannot do anything except accept whatever the owners propose (or be locked out), then it is powerless and should be decertified. Saves a pile of future union dues on the part of the players. I heard an expression on TV the other day- "if you're in a nuclear war. don't leave anything in the silos". Seems apt here. My sense is that little Napoleon and his cronies have thought this out and, given the risks they've taken so far, are probably risking a decertification process. Not sure what their response would be given decertication and anti-trust lawsuits filed by Crosby and others.

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11-22-2012, 08:46 AM
  #59
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I still maintain that decertification is a lose-lose scenario for the majority on both sides, which is why things won't go that far (and by "that far", I mean a real, permanent decertification, not some cheap negotiating tactic decertification). But from a socio-economic point of view, I'd almost want to see it because it would provide a fascinating real-life "experiment" of sorts, a free-market counterpoint to the current CBA-based economic systems that are prevalent in professional sports.
Things have already gone to the point the players have only two viable options, capitulation or decertification, should they want to get back to work.

The NHL, like other major professional sports, had/has no intention of bargaining in good faith. Professional sports unions are only aiding the owners, making it legal to violate antitrust laws and other labour laws by having a CBA.

FYI decertification of a union isn't some cheap negotiating tactic, it has become the only option players have to counter the lockout card played by ownership.

I agree with you regarding wanting the players to decertify.

Let the players file antitrust suits and as their cases are ajudicated the lockout would be ruled illegal, owners would be forced to honor existing contracts, there would be no allowable salary cap, nor restrictions on player movement.

One might also consider the draft would be consider a violation of existing labour law in many jurisdications . This would mean teams would have to recruit players with no restrictions on entry level salaries.

These are but a few reasons ownership of the NFL and NBA settle quickly facing the prospects of decertification.

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11-22-2012, 08:48 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by rynryn View Post
so if the union goes goodbye, can teams dump injured players? awesome!
What decertification does is it changes the playing field... Instead of playing chess the League and the Players would be playing volleyball. The rules are different. The moves open to the League and the Players are different.

The League can use new pressure tactics vs the Players that weren't available before. So can the Players.

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11-22-2012, 08:51 AM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Erik Estrada View Post
What decertification does is it changes the playing field... Instead of playing chess the League and the Players would be playing volleyball. The rules are different. The moves open to the League and the Players are different.

The League can use new pressure tactics vs the Players that weren't available before. So can the Players.
it does have the potential to save individual owners some money if their lawyers are good though. It would be pretty nice to not have to pay Salary insurance if you can avoid paying Bouchard $14m over three years of sitting on the sidelines with a concussion.

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11-22-2012, 08:51 AM
  #62
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If the players want to fight the lockout-based method of negotiating the owners have employed, a less drastic step than decertification would be to insist on some kind of "poison-pill" final season in the CBA, such as one with no linkage or salary cap.

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11-22-2012, 08:55 AM
  #63
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if it's wild wild west time (pressure-wise)...the owners have more resources and are more equipped to deal with that situation than individual players. Most players will get ragdolled if disputes ever pop up and they don't have the union as a resource.

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11-22-2012, 08:57 AM
  #64
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Some drawbacks for the Players using decertification:

"Specifically, by disbanding their union, athletes must forgo a number of union-provided benefits, including regulation of player agents and management of player pension and health insurance programs.

...

"Specifically, by disbanding their union, players lose any protections provided under labor law, including the ability to assert unfair
labor practice claims against management
. Such claims would include allegations that management has refused to bargain in good faith, perhaps by failing to provide relevant financial information to the union,140 or by
unilaterally implementing a policy implicating a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.141 While these protections may not always outweigh the potential leverage to be gained through disbanding the union during a
lockout,142 they do nevertheless provide some benefits to players in the event ownership adopts an unreasonable negotiation position during the course of the labor dispute, protection that is lost if the union dissolves.


See Grow

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11-22-2012, 08:59 AM
  #65
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oh my god...so this is another reason Walsh is cheering so hard for the players association!

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11-22-2012, 09:13 AM
  #66
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I thought one threat against decertification was that the league could challenge the validity of all existing contracts? Is there any way that by decertifying a union the existing contracts signed with players of that union are no longer valid? That would sure work against the players make-whole demands.

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11-22-2012, 09:18 AM
  #67
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Originally Posted by popo View Post
I thought one threat against decertification was that the league could challenge the validity of all existing contracts? Is there any way that by decertifying a union the existing contracts signed with players of that union are no longer valid? That would sure work against the players make-whole demands.
Players will argue that the contracts are valid. Owners will probably argue that they aren't. The Courts will decide. Owners made this argument in the 2011 NBA Lockout:

"This latter claim was particularly novel, effectively asserting that all player contracts were inextricably intertwined with the CBA, insofar as the CBA specifies most of the provisions in the contracts. Therefore, because a decertification or disclaimer of interest would render the CBA null and void, the league argued it would also void any of the league’s existing player contracts.126 While the legal validity of the owners’ contractual argument was questionable, it may nevertheless have caused players some hesitation before voting to disband the NBPA." (Grow)

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11-22-2012, 09:22 AM
  #68
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One might also consider the draft would be consider a violation of existing labour law in many jurisdications . This would mean teams would have to recruit players with no restrictions on entry level salaries.
Um - NBA and NFL and MLB all have drafts. MLBs is 40 rounds (I think they've just dropped it from 50).

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11-22-2012, 09:24 AM
  #69
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I thought one threat against decertification was that the league could challenge the validity of all existing contracts? Is there any way that by decertifying a union the existing contracts signed with players of that union are no longer valid? That would sure work against the players make-whole demands.
Decertification can only be filed when a contract is not in effect. If there is an existing contract, the general rule is that decertification cannot be filed before the 60-90 day period before the contract expires. Seeing as how the premise for decertification is based on a contract that isn't in effect or will soon not be in effect, I'm guessing it's very possible that if the union decertifies and the lockout is lifted, contracts signed when they were part of a union are no longer valid and ALL players in the league will have to renegotiate new salaries and will have to negotiate benefits as well.

From what I can gather, decertification gives the players more leverage than what they have now, but it also gives the owners more power than they currently have should the owners wish to exercise that power to the fullest.

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11-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Um - NBA and NFL and MLB all have drafts. MLBs is 40 rounds (I think they've just dropped it from 50).
All of those leagues have unions. I think he's referring to what happens with the draft if the PA decertifies for good (which I think is highly unlikely). I can see the reasoning behind their thought that no union and no CBA would mean that the draft eligible players will be recruited on a team by team basis which gives the top draft prospect a lot of leverage in choosing and negotiating their first NHL contract.

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11-22-2012, 09:31 AM
  #71
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From what I can gather, decertification gives the players more leverage than what they have now, but it also gives the owners more power than they currently have should the owners wish to exercise that power to the fullest.
What it does is gives massive power to the top players over the owners, and massive power to the owners over the replacement-level players on the bottom lines. It's a really simple application of supply/demand theory. Decertification will lead to income disparity between classes of players at the NHL level that is far more similar to what exists in American society as a whole than how the league is currently set up. A huge majority of players in the NHL make artificially high salaries while a small but important minority of top players have their salaries massively depressed under the current CBA model.

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11-22-2012, 09:32 AM
  #72
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Just like the owners, players are risk averse. Taking the deck of cards and throwing it up in the air just because owners are driving a hard bargain isn't something they will decide to do lightly. And for the same reason, decertification is something the owners don't really want either. They will go from a situation where they have control to a situation with a lot of uncertainty. Also, it's far from certain the courts would deem NHL to be breaking any anti-trust laws.

As I understand it, there is a 45 day period where the parties negotiate before the union will take a vote on decertification and both sides would hope to settle during that time with the added threat of future decertification acting as a pressure mechanism.

In the end, I don't think it will go that far here. As much as the sides are huffing and puffing, there is a deal to be made here. Always were, of course, even during all the time they wasted up to now.
These sides aren't that close. at all.

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11-22-2012, 09:34 AM
  #73
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What it does is gives massive power to the top players over the owners, and massive power to the owners over the replacement-level players on the bottom lines. It's a really simple application of supply/demand theory. Decertification will lead to income disparity between classes of players at the NHL level that is far more similar to what exists in American society as a whole than how the league is currently set up. A huge majority of players in the NHL make artificially high salaries while a small but important minority of top players have their salaries massively depressed under the current CBA model.
Epsilon, explain to me why the owners pay these mediocre guys money in today's market but won't in a decertified market?

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11-22-2012, 09:35 AM
  #74
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As far as the draft and stuff goes they can always recertify after an agreement has been reached. If they are goin to do this they need to do it soon.

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11-22-2012, 09:38 AM
  #75
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4th liners will definitely take a huge hit. Right now there is an "artificial" minimum wage in the league that is 5-8 times higher than many of the equivalent players make in the AHL (and more than a thousand times what equivalent junior players make). Right now teams pay that premium because its been agreed upon, not because the guy who barely squeaks on the roster is 5 to 8 times better than the best guy in the AHL. So this drives guys at the very bottom of the league towards AHL salaries. That in turn drives all 4th liners and most third liners down.

The simple way to put it is the hockey value of the bottom 10% of the league as compared to the to the top 10% outside the NHL is negligible, and not supported by the current salary differentials driven by the minimum wage leveled under the CBA.

Elite players will make out great because some teams have higher spending resources, and they will be able to strongly entice the elite players with cash. Elite players are the commodity, and with the artificial spending cap gone, fighting over these scant resources will be tight. As well, with all the money saved at the low end will be used to compete for top end players.
I can see some guys dropping below the minimum wage.

But why economics are there out there right now that make Tomas Kopecky a $4M player that won't be there in a decertified market.

The "Filler" players I can see.

On the other hand, if there's more competition for players, anyone with any marketable skill should benefit, right?

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