Fortunately, in recent weeks, talk of the NBA players union decertifying has cooled off. It’s good because if the players did it at this point, you could kiss the season goodbye.
But even if the players wanted to decertify the union — voting essentially to dissolve the union — the federal government might block it.
So reports David Aldridge at NBA.com. (He also does a great job shooting holes in the owners silly “competitive balance” argument.)
Interesting tidbit from Lawrence Katz, the lawyer handling the union’s National Labor Relations Board case against the NBA. In discussing possible decertification by the union, Katz said he believes that the NLRB — which would handle any decertification vote by the union if such a vote were authorized by union members — would not approve the vote.
“They would block any decertification petition,” he said….
“The vote on decertification is a vote controlled and run by the NLRB,” he said. “In my opinion, they could not process the petition for a vote because of the pending petition.”
Decertifying the union — then having players sue the league on anti-trust grounds — was the route the NFL union went. It didn’t really work well for them, court rulings were very narrow and didn’t help the union, and in the end old-fashioned negotiations was how a deal was reached.
Billy Hunter and the players union decided to file with the NLRB, hoping that body would step in and say the owners have not negotiated in good faith. The union filed their complaint in May and there is still not ruling from the board, and when they do rule most legal experts think it will favor the owners.
But for now that keeps decertification off the table. If the union does go this route, it will be after the entire season is canceled. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that.