What we need is something that will start to put pressure on the owners and players to really sit down and negotiate in earnest. Something to move the needle. Right now it’s all just posturing — legal and public relations — and we have two sides digging in like it’s World War I.
A ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the complaint filed by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) that the owners are not negotiating in good faith would put some pressure on the owners to compromise. (The owners recently filed their own complaint saying the players are not negotiating in good faith but the two are handled separately.)
Union Executive Director Billy Hunter met with the NLRB Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Sports Business Journal (via I am a GM). Which means the notoriously slow-moving NLRB is getting closer to making a decision. If the NLRB rules that the owners are negotiating in bad faith, they can go to the courts to have the lockout lifted.
The NBPA has kept players and agents up to date on the ongoing NLRB investigation, according to player agent Bill Duffy.
“We are in support of it and everyone is waiting to see what the ruling is,” Duffy said. He added that he had heard a decision could be made in as soon as two weeks, but (union attorney Larry) Katz said that time frame was a bit ambitious.
What is really going to put pressure on the two sides is training camps being delayed and then games being lost, pressure that starts to really build about a month from now and into the end of September. Which should be right around when the NLRB gets around to making a ruling.
People, hope that all that pressure works and really starts to move these negotiations. Because if we get to mid-September and the two sides are barely talking, then the NLRB does not rule for the players, then the union will seriously consider decertification. And if that happens we could be missing a whole lot of games, maybe a season’s worth.