Friday, November 05, 2010

More uses of the word "decertify" than I had previously planned

Interesting news has come to light, as players from 25 teams have now agreed to decertify their union -- the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) -- if necessary at the end of the current labour deal. Talks will be held with the other 7 teams, but there are enough votes now to proceed without their consent. I believe the current labor deal expires on March 1st, after which the players would have 15 days to decertify themselves as a union. The question is why; and the two-fold answer largely involves lawsuits. The first aspect is simply to avoid a lock out. Under current US Labor law, if the union fails to decertify in time then the owners can both figuratively and literally stop the players from coming to work. No work equals no pay, for as long as the owners decide is necessary, e.g. until they run out of money (unlikely) or the players do (more likely) and subsequently buckle. Don't forget that although players earn obscene amounts of money, they also spend obscene amounts in payments on multi-million dollar homes and flashy cars. Even the richest players in the league will feel the strain and start looking at those Ferrari's in the drive as unsustainable expenses. On the other hand, if the players decertify then there is no union to lock out. Everyone comes to work as normal. Until the lawsuits begin of course. See, without a union there is nobody for the league owners to collectively bargain with. They will simply have to strike a deal among themselves regarding rules for free agency and how to conduct the draft. It's at this point that the players will likely begin filing a class action anti-trust lawsuit. They will argue in court that the league constitutes 32 independent businesses who -- with their newly agreed temporary draft and free agency rules -- are colluding together to restrict fair trade, in breach of the Sherman Anti-trust Act. The goal of the players will not really be to take the NFL all the way to the judgement and end up effectively shooting off the hand that feeds them (not if they have any sense at least). The goal is more likely to take the league to a point where the owners are starting to get worried about what might happen if they lose, forcing them to come to the table and strike a deal with the players that is in the players favour. It effectively will be a stare down. Who will blink first..... and how many fans will have got sick and damn tired of two groups of rich people arguing over who should be the slightly richer. Have a great day everyone.

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