NBA files lawsuit, unfair labor practice charge against players' union
One day after NBA Commissioner David Stern essentially doubted that the players were negotiating in good faith, the league backed up that contention with a one-two punch, filing two claims against the Players' Assn.
The first was an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board, and the second, an antitrust lawsuit in federal district court in New York, an often NBA-friendly venue.
“These claims were filed in an effort to eliminate the use of impermissible pressure tactics by the union which are impeding the parties’ ability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,” said Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner and chief operating officer.
“For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith.
Additionally, the statement from the NBA said that the federal lawsuit was seeking to establish that the lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws and if the players' association "decertification" were to be found lawful, all existing player contracts would become void and unenforceable.
"By making the first move, NBA now has home [federal] court advantage," said Gabe Feldman, associate professor and the director of Tulane's sports law program, on his twitter feed. "NY is in Second Circuit. Second Circuit has been very favorable to NBA in previous antitrust litigation with the players."
In May, the players' union filed its own unfair labor practices charge with the NLRB.
The NBA’s legal salvos came less than a day after the owners and union had their first negotiating session since the lockout started, which resulted in no movement by either side.
The NBA locked out its players on July 1 after the previous labor deal expired. The NBA says 23 of its 30 teams are unprofitable and wants to significantly cut the players 57% share of basketball revenue in the last contract. The players' union contends the league's financial problems are not significant and has offered to cut the players' share of revenue to 54.3%. Stern dismissed that offer as "modest."
-- Lisa Dillman