Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Does this sound familiar? Professional sports league and union in dispute over contract renewel. League locks out players. Players threaten antitrust suits. Now, soon after the NFL resolved its dispute, the NBA is facing labor unrest. And, much like the NFL, the NBA has now filed a lawsuit and a charge with the NLRB against the union.
The timing in the two cases are a bit different, but the issues are very familiar. The charge allege that the union didn't bargain in good faith--in part because of the union's threats to dissolve or file antitrust claims. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment that the lockout didn't violate antitrust laws, claims that the Norris-LaGuardia act prevents any injunctions against the lockout (no doubt relying on the NFL's recent win on this issue), and that if the union dissolves all player contracts are void. This last argument is obviously an attempted nuclear option against the players, but it seems a weak one on the law.