Unhappy NBA Players Ready to File for Union Decertification?

by November 11, 2011

The League’s latest proposal — which resembles the previous proposal quite a bit — isn’t a very popular one among NBA players and their agents. According to multiple reports, decertification (which would basically blow up any chance of there being a 2011 – ’12 season) is still an option on the table: “Sources close to the decertification movement told ESPN.com there was a growing desire, as of Thursday night, to start the decertification clock as soon as possible by filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Boards calling for a decertification vote — with the signatures of more than 200 players — as soon as possible. A firm decertification timetable won’t be established before Friday at the earliest, but sources said that Monday is the target date to file the petition, factoring in that Friday is the Veteran’s Day holiday. Hunter himself acknowledged in a Tuesday night interview with NBA TV that the fast-moving decertification push — fronted most notably Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce — has ‘close to’ 200 players in the process of signing a petition that would trigger a decertification vote. The movement, sources said, has grown to include more than the original seven agents (Mark Bartelstein, Bill Duffy, Dan Fegan, Leon Rose, Jeff Schwartz, Arn Tellem and Henry Thomas) who have been advocating decertification for months. The two-step decertification process requires 30 percent of the league’s workforce — an estimated 130 players — to sign the petition calling for a vote. That petition is then forwarded to the NLRB, which would take up to 45 days to ratify the petition and arrange the vote, during which the union and league could continue to negotiate. Decertification backers believe that the fear of the unknown, with the labor fight potentially moving into courtrooms, would finally move NBA owners off the extreme hard-line negotiating stance they’ve maintained and lead to a more palatable offer during that 45-day window. Stern, though, insists that the league has no interest in further talks if Thursday’s proposal is rejected. He repeated last week’s vow that the owners will ‘reset’ to their far more rigid proposal from earlier in the summer calling for a 53/47 revenue split in the owners’ favor, along with a restrictive flex salary cap and rollbacks on existing salaries. ‘There comes a time when you have to be through negotiating,’ Stern said, ‘and we are. I am optimistic owners will approve it if the players approve it and I await their response. We’ve done our best.’ Only a simple majority of teams is needed to approve any labor contract on the league side, but one league source told ESPN.com late Thursday that he expects ‘more than 20 teams’ to sign off on the deal despite the ongoing battles within the ownership ranks between small-market franchises seeking harsh tax penalties and other restrictions on big spenders.”