The National Labor Relations Board sided with NBA players, as they denied David Stern’s attempt to have their unfair labor practice claim dismissed. It’s a meaningul legal victory for the players’ union. Reports the NY Daily News: “The NBA commissioner went before the NLRB on Wednesday seeking the dismissal, but the NLRB decided to continue with the case, which the players union hopes will lead to the league being forced to restart operations and open the season under the previous collective bargaining rules. ‘That is what Stern and his owners are worried about,’ insisted a union legal source. Perhaps, but first, the players’ case has several more steps to go, and it’s being viewed by legal experts as a long shot to help them break the 106-day-old lockout. ‘This is part of the theater of collective bargaining, and it’s one of the few weapons that the players have to put pressure on the owners during the lockout,’ said Jay Krupin, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney with Epstein Becker Green and an expert on the workings of the NLRB. ‘The probability of an injunction being issued to stop the lockout is remote. But right now, having the NLRB look at its charge is one of the few things the players have going for them.’ In hoping to gain some leverage in its uphill battle against the owners, the union has been trying to get the NLRB to expedite its case. An NLRB source said it will be given ‘high priority’ when it soon goes to its board in Washington, D.C., but would not offer a timetable. For the players to win and force the NBA to reopen, the NLRB would have to issue a complaint against the owners, ruling that the league did engage in unfair labor practices. Then it would have to convince a federal court that, among other things, the players have been caused irreparable damage during the lockout. At that point, the only remedy for the NBA would be to file an appeal, which it would have to lose. If all that happens, then the NBA would reopen, with free agency being conducted under the old system, along with the players getting back the old 57-43 split of revenue they enjoyed in the last collective bargaining agreement. Krupin predicted that the players’ case will never get that far. The NLRB has a history of taking its time in hopes that the two sides return to the table and work out a deal.”
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