Friday, October 22, 2004

Consolation for Yankees fans...

...well, not really. But if you want to take your mind off your troubles and also read a great scholarly treatment of labor law, antitrust, and baseball, take a look at William B. Gould IV, LABOR ISSUES IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: REFLECTIONS ON BASEBALL, LABOR, AND ANTITRUST LAW, 15 Stanford Law and Policy Review 61 (2004).

Here's a small sample:

"[A]fter Brown v. Pro Football, unions in all sports were deprived of the tactic of antitrust liability unless they were willing to decertify themselves or could produce evidence that would establish a moribund bargaining process. As a result, arena football owners ironically found themselves in a situation opposite to that in which most employers find themselves--fearing antitrust liability, they threatened a lockout unless their employees joined a union!

"Because Brown had substantially diminished the impact of antitrust law in other sports, the baseball owners were willing to negotiate a promise to seek partial repeal of their antitrust exemption. The result of baseball's lobbying efforts was the Curt Flood Act of 1998, which reversed Federal Baseball insofar as that decision had provided baseball owners with immunity from major league player litigation arising from their employment relationship. The consequence of the 1998 Act was that such actions could be maintained, but only where the union was decertified or defunct."

Professor Gould also points out that for minor league baseball teams, which are not unionized, the antitrust exemption still applies.

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