Monday, February 14, 2011

NFL Files Unfair Labor Practice Claim Against NFLPA

The NFL has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).

Basically, the NFL is alleging that the NFLPA has not negotiated in good faith and is just going through the motions. The NFL claims the NFLPA has engaged in "surface bargaining" and tactics designed to avoid reaching an agreement before the CBA expires.

The NFLPA has responded that the claim "has absolutely no merit".

So what on earth is going on from a legal standpoint you ask? Good question.

Bottom line - the NFL is saying that the NFLPA is avoiding reaching an agreement before the CBA expires so that it can file anti-trust litigation.

More precisely, the NFL is concerned that the NFLPA is stalling until the CBA expires, at which point the NFL argues the Union will decertify and the individual players will sue the NFL for antitrust violations. These types of lawsuits can be very serious as they can result in catastrophic awards of monetary damages against the NFL, and the last time around n 1989 these lawsuits pressured the NFL to agree to a new CBA.

The NFLPA's statements and conduct over the course of the last 20 months plainly establish that it does not intend to engage in good faith collective bargaining with the NFL after the CBA expires or otherwise meet its obligations under Section 8(d) of the Act, and that it instead will pursue its goals on behalf of the players by pretending to disclaim interest as their Section 9(a) representative and then sue the NFL under the antitrust laws. The union's strategy amounts to an unlawful anticipatory refusal to bargain."
So the NFL's goal with the labor complaint is a step toward pre-emptively blocking decertification.

For a primer on decertification, please click here, which explains anti-trust and decertification in clear terms.

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