Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher are facing considerable pressure from some powerful agents to decertify the NBA players’ union, and there’s talk of a possible player revolt at a meeting to be held today in Las Vegas.
According to union president Derek Fisher, though, decertification isn’t the way to go, and he’s not pleased with player agents who have expressed their concerns through the media and not the union directly.
From the NY Times:
“I find the position of these agents questionable, at best,” Derek Fisher, the union president, said by telephone Wednesday evening. “If they’re so concerned about the direction of the union, then why have they not contacted me at a minimum to share these concerns?” Fisher said that dissolving the union — a tactic often referred to by legal experts as the “nuclear option” — was not necessary to get a deal done. “In our opinion, it’s always been something that, only when we truly believe that we cannot do our jobs as a players association, as a union, would we ever consider that,” Fisher said.
Decertification is viewed by some as the best way to increase the players’ leverage at the bargaining table. By dissolving the union, players gain the right to sue the league under antitrust laws and perhaps secure an injunction to end the lockout. It is also considered a risky and expensive legal gambit, one that could take months or even years to resolve. Fisher referred to decertification as a “drastic move that leaves every player without pensions, without health care” and without the legal protections of the union.
Decertifying would also force the union to withdraw the unfair-labor practice charge that it filed with the National Labor Relations Board last spring. A ruling on that charge is expected soon. If the board decides in the union’s favor, it could give the players the leverage they are seeking, without dissolving their union.
Somewhere between 50 and 70 NBA players are expected to attend today’s crucial labor meeting. It remains to be seen if they can maintain a unified front in their battle against team owners.