Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 10:50 am  |  9 responses

NBA Players ‘Actively Considering’ Union Decertification

The idea to decertify the union has been on the players’ minds since well before the NBA lockout began, and it’s still something that may take place (following in the footsteps of the NFL players). From the NY Times: “N.F.L. players dissolved their union March 11, just before the lockout began, because a clause in their labor agreement would have barred them from doing so for another six months. It was a now-or-never decision. Facing no such artificial deadlines, the National Basketball Players Association put off any decision on decertifying when the N.B.A. lockout began July 1. Billy Hunter, the union’s executive director, said negotiating remained the first priority. But the path the N.F.L. Players Association chose — decertification, coupled with an antitrust lawsuit — remains a weapon in the basketball players’ arsenal should negotiations fail. ‘It’s not off the table in any way,’ said Jeffrey Kessler, the outside counsel for the N.B.P.A. ‘There’s no immediate urgency to that issue. It’s an option the players are actively considering. But they have time to decide whether it makes sense to end the union or not.’ Kessler, who also serves as outside counsel for the football players’ union, is known as a fierce proponent of decertification as a means to gain bargaining leverage. Hunter and Derek Fisher, the basketball players’ union president, prefer to stick to negotiating. Kessler declined to comment on the Eighth Circuit decision’s impact on the N.F.L. discussions. On its face, the decision favored owners. But Kessler, speaking only to the N.B.A. dispute, found encouragement in one part of the decision. The court made a distinction between locked-out players who are under contract and those who are not — free agents and rookies. Because they have yet to sign deals, the court majority wrote, they cannot be classified as locked-out employees.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Please explain the scenarios that would make decertification advantageous to the players. I don’t think I’m clear on this.

  • todddd

    Yes, what does decertification even mean?


    what it says on the tin…

  • spit hot fiyah

    yeah what would b the consequences, someone with insight please clarify

  • Marcus Bastos

    If the Owners and the Players don’t have the knowledge, capacity and desire to remain negotiation, I think is time to pass up the NBA…

  • RyanT1992

    I think it means that the union would stop existing as a “union” for the players, it would then continue to exist as an organization. As a union they cant take any legal action, they can only bargain on the players behalf. But as an organization they could take legal action claiming that the NBA is conducting a group boycott… However, i might be wrong.

  • http://www.triplajunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Procedure under which (1) employees of a firm can disassociate themselves from a specific union, or (2) a firm can withdraw a union’s official recognition as the exclusive bargaining representative of the firm’s employees.
    [This definition appears thanks to businessdirectorydotcom]

  • Danny

    I think the main point is that the owners would then not be able to work together to restrict player earnings. It would be a violation to free trade and anti-trust laws, amounting to collusion.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Thanks Danny & Ryan. I think you’re right. If that happens (decertification), then I could really see the more successful owners–Arison, Dolan, Cuban, Buss, the Russian guy (sorry don’t remember his name)–would break from the other owners pushing the guaranteed profit angle. This is what gets me about the whole thing. There’s no “guarantees” in business (unless you’re a too-big-to-fail bank, of course).