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Players Vote to Disclaim Interest in NHLPA on Sunday.

Byline: Maury Brown

In a tactic employed by the NFL, and NBA players unions, a vote is scheduled Sunday that would have the players "disclaim interest" in the NHL Players Association. The move would ostensibly dissolve the union and make it a quasi-trade association. In doing so, no labor agreement can be reached with the NHL and its owners. The NHL, sensing the move, filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to block the NHLPA from doing so on the grounds that the move is a scam designed only to be periodic.

"The union has threatened to pursue this course not because it is defunct or otherwise incapable of representing NHL players for purposes of collective bargaining, nor because NHL players are dissatisfied with the representation they have been provided by the NHLPA," the NHL complaint read in part.

"The NHLPA's threatened decertification or disclaimer is nothing more than an impermissable negotiating tactic, which the union incorrectly believes would enable it to commence an antitrust challenge to the NHL's lockout."

The NHLPA responded by saying, "The NHLPA has just received a copy of the National Labor Relations Board charge and has not yet been served with the lawsuit. However, based on what we've learned so far, the NHL appears to be arguing that Players should be stopped from even considering their right to decide whether or not to be represented by a union. We believe that their position is completely without merit."

If the court determines that the players' union is allowed to dissolve, they can then sue to say that the lockout is illegal. Only within the management/union framework are the lockouts of employees deemed permissible under law.

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network (, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes via his Bizball blog ( He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. ( He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided) (

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Author:Brown, Maury
Publication:The Biz of Hockey
Date:Dec 15, 2012
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