Could the Union Decertification backfire on players?

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by DaBruinz, Mar 1, 2011.

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  1. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    One of the things that I have been wondering is whether or not decertification could backfire on the players? Could the owners actually WANT the decertification?

    I'd like to hear what others have to say on the subject..
  2. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    What do the owners possibly get out of it? A union being in place is what allows the 32 owners to collude, which they otherwise couldn't do under the Sherman Act. You're really asking, "Could the owners WANT to get sued?".
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  3. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

  4. peterforpats

    peterforpats Practice Squad Player

    the players historically have gotten their greatest gains(free agency for one) when they have decertified. according to legal experts , this will help the players not the owners. whatever helps the owners come to their senses quicker and keeps the season intact i'm for,but if they drag it out because they have a large pool of money and want to totally break the union, then i will rethink my loyalty to this sport. i weaned myself from baseball and hockey addictions, and if need be, i can jettison the nfl. life is too short to let the mostly obnoxious owners(not all) ruin my enjoyment of this game- there is just too much else to enjoy in life .:rolleyes:
  5. The Boston Patriot

    The Boston Patriot Supporter Supporter

    I think the NFL game just won't be the same without you. :rolleyes:
  6. peterforpats

    peterforpats Practice Squad Player

    sarcasm noted, but if you think i am the only person disgusted by the state of modern sports leagues and will eventually tune them out, than you are a fool.
  7. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    I don't think they want decertification, but I believe they are prepared for it and certainly don't fear it. Sure the players will sue, but against/for what? I can understand trying for gains in free agency, but they don't have a similar target this time. From the players' perspective, this is all about money. Can you see a court issuing any ruling that compels the owners to pay more than they want to?

    The only areas that strike me as anti-trust targets are the draft, the salary cap and league-wide contracts (TV, radio, marketing, etc.). I think courts would be hesitant to strike down the draft considering similar structures in all other sports leagues. I'm not sure that the majority of players want to abolish the draft anyway.

    As for the salary cap, losing that (or more specifically losing the salary floor) would just allow individual teams to go cheap whenever they want. This would destroy the middle class for the players. The few contenders would pay top dollar and the rest would pay the minimum needed to be competitive with the other have-nots.

    Losing the ability to negotiate league TV contracts would destroy the league...and I doubt the players want to go that far. The amount of money generated by 32 individual TV deals would be a fraction of the billions brought in today. How does that help the players?

    So I can see why you would pose this question. I think we would need to see the actual lawsuit before we could make an intelligent assessment. From my perspective, considering the players can't possibly win as a locked-out union, they are willing to try any alternative to avoid concessions. While that may not backfire, I can't see how it ends well for the players.
  8. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Here is why I ask this.

    1) There are now 3 different Leagues that players can go to besides the NFL. There is the UFL, CFL, and AFL.

    2) The players are going to have a much hard time proving that the owners are "limiting trade" because the NFL is no longer the only game in town.

    3) The players will also have a harder time proving collusion since there are 3 other leagues that players can go to.

    The owners could use those 3 leagues to say "Hey, we're paying our guys more than fairly in comparison to others in their field" . The owners could use that to their advantage to push down salaries.

    Also, by decertifying, doesn't that basically mean the players would have to start from scratch? And, in return, the owners could pull some things off the bargaining table that the players had already fought for?
  9. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks Supporter Supporter

    This time it could. Definitions of exactly what constitutes anti trust under the Sherman Act have been fairly limited and narrow, and while interpretation varies from court to court in this case absent a fundamental argument like FA they would essentially be arguing about things that collective bargaining historically allows for had not their union chosen decertification...

    The owners would get to run the league on essentially their terms for possibly 4-5 years while these things wind their way through various courts. The players could end up with little more than what they have now or something less...depending on the mood of the court they ultimately land in...on top of the less they got during the 4-5 years when they got what the owners wanted. Then we could do it all again in 4-5 years...because if they can't reach a fair agreement whichever side feels screwed will be back at it by then.

    Ultimately the union will recertify when they want to deal. That's what they did last time once enough court rulings indicated that FA in some form was coming. That is also the basis of the NFL filing with the can't use decertification as a sham or a club to end around negotiating for your benefits via collective bargaining. The league is contending that the union is doing just that this time out and has been since they started collecting votes for decertification 6 months ago. In most normal cases when a union decertifies it is at the request of rank and file employees who have lost faith in the union to negotiate on their behalf. Not as a means to an end (getting an employer into court).

    The only clear cut winners in decertification are the lawyers. And on some level the fans since the games do go on although the issues remain to be resolved.

    You do hear though from time to time that there are some in ownership who literally want to bust THIS particular union, so for them maybe decertification is a means to that end. It's just a risky means for the majority to be willing to undertake. In some ways decertification could hurt them down the road if as has been stated Judge Doty remains on the case in that instance. He seems to be they biggest single reason the union would prefer to take in the shorts for a while because since 1993 he has tended to lean towards their side of most arguments. If there is a lockout and the CBA expires, Doty is off the case whenever a new CBA is undertaken. His oversight was part of the agreement in 1993 when the present CBA began, and it has been extended along with the CBA ever since.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  10. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

    Disable Jersey

    Well, the players won in front of Doty on the television contracts issue. The remedy has not yet been announced.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  11. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks Supporter Supporter

    They always win in front of Doty. Thing is, he doesn't get the final word anymore than Burbank did when he ruled for the owners last month...
  12. TrueBeliever

    TrueBeliever 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    I don't know about that. I'm not that familiar with the CFL, but I know the UFL and the Arena League don't pay near as much as the NFL.

    But then I don't know much about litigation either.

    For the record, the NFL has been ruled a monopoly in the past. The USFL technically won the lawsuit against the NFL, as the jury ruled that the NFL indeed was a monopoly and used unfair trade practices. However, the jury also felt that the reason the USFL was losing money so bad was much more their own fault than anything the NFL did, and thus awarded them just $1. (Some of the jurors have since said they thought the judge would make the award much higher.)
  13. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    I am fairly certain that pay is a non-factor in determining whether or not there are other venues where the players can ply their trade.

    I am also fairly certain that this was brought up when the NHL was on strike back in 2004. The NHLPA tried to say that the NFL was a monopoly and their argument was turned down because of the various European leagues and the Russian Elite league.

    When the USFL was formed, the NFL was considered a monopoly. There is no doubt about that. Arena football was not even a thought then. The CFL, though it was formed in 1958, wasn't much of a draw then, but has become significantly more watched because of players such as Warren Moon and Doug Flutie. And, with the NFL now signing players from that league, The NFL can contend that they are comparable.
  14. TrueBeliever

    TrueBeliever 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Really? I figured the law would say it was apples and oranges if you could work for Company A where the average salary is $5 million or Company B where the average is $50,000. That's very interesting.

    Like I said, I don't know much about litigation. ;)

    As for the whole monopoly/USFL thing, the CFL was around in those days too. Aw, who knows?
  15. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks Supporter Supporter

    The ever hawkish Florio is hedging his bets a little this AM regarding decertification.
  16. Patsrock

    Patsrock Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Minor thing, but it was not a strike it was a lock out.
  17. TrueBeliever

    TrueBeliever 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Just for the record, I heard this morning on "Mike & Mike" that the current CBA has a provision that the league cannot use replacement players in any case (i.e. whether the players strike or are locked out.)
  18. townes

    townes Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    As they should have, the owners were way out of line creating a situation wherein they get paid but the players don't.
  19. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    Agree with all his points, but not his conclusion. The players don't have the "holy grail" (free agency) to go after in litigation. So they have to:

    a) Demonstrate the league violates anti-trust laws. No problem, been done before.

    b) Show they have been damaged by these violations. Little more dicey here, but assume they can pull it off.

    c) Ask for a remedy. This is the area where the strategy falls apart. I have no doubt that the players can win the lawsuit, but what will be the result? It should be perfectly clear that the whole dispute is over money. I don't believe there is anything the court can do to compel the owners to spend more on players.

    They can rule items like the draft and salary cap as illegal, but I'm not sure this gives players leverage for the next CBA. Lack of a salary cap resulted in modest salary increases in 2010, but also introduced the potential for a salary drop at any time (could be significant for some struggling teams).

    Losing the draft isn't going to result in an increase in salaries. They just become part of a larger FA pool. While there wouldn't be a cap, teams would still be operating out of 32 individual budgets. They would be hesitant to pay rookie FAs significantly more than their drafted counterparts...and the guys at the top will get significantly less.

    The only other things that could be (and likely would be) ruled illegal are the league deals for TV, radio, marketing. This would be a disaster for the league and the players since the resulting 32 individual contracts would be a fraction of what the league gets today. Add in the contraction of teams that can't demand big money deals and the money available to players is greatly reduced.

    That being said, the NFLPA leadership pretty much has to look to the courts. They can't win a lockout situation and they don't want to be the ones holding the wheel when the ship goes down. And if they don't file today, they lose their best legal ally in Doty. The players are stuck in autopilot on the road to hell...and the owners know it.

    While the litigation is pending, the owners will devote whatever league-wide percentage of revenue to salaries that they deem appropriate. Once the litigation ends, the owners (as a league or as 32 entities) will continue to do that. All the players can do is pitch a fit and threaten to use the court rulings to blow up the ship. That threat loses its punch when the players are still standing on the deck.

    The only "offer" the NFLPA had in hand was 50% of total revenue...which is pretty much the same deal the owners opted out of (58% of $8B = 50% of $9.3B). They should have negotiated to split the difference and get what the could. Now they get the owners' rules for a few years and then no new leverage once the litigation completes. Good luck with that.
  20. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    You clearly don't realize what the real situation was. The situation was that the networks would pay the league as usual, whether the games were there or not. And any games that were missed, the league would have to repay those funds.

    When there is a lockout, the owners will still get money from their other ventures. The Players, however, don't get squat.

    The players don't realize how good they have it. Particularly when it comes to healthcare. And they are getting the sticker shock on their COBRA payments now. And there are a lot who just never realized what that benefit cost. I wouldn't be surprised to find out if they are having to pay $2500 to $3000 (or more) a month for their insurance.

    I wouldn't be surprised if, going forward, the players will be required to pay for their health insurance.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
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