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Players Consider Decertifying Union

Publication Date: 
November 04, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Mike Bresnahan

Professor Bill Gould is quoted by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times what a decertification effort could mean for the NBA lockout and the rest of the season.

Frustrated by the lack of progress in talks to end the 127-day lockout, some players are considering an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board to decertify the National Basketball Players Assn., an extreme legal step that could take months to sort out and would threaten the entire 2011-12 NBA season.

If the union decertifies, players could then sue the NBA under U.S. antitrust laws. They would be likely to claim the league conspired to deny their ability to market themselves by locking out players when the collective-bargaining agreement expired July 1.


"Hanging over the heads at the parties at the bargaining table this weekend is this threat of nuclear warfare," said Bill Gould, a Stanford law professor and former NLRB chairman who wrote the book "Bargaining With Baseball."

"If that threat is used, the odds are in favor of blowing up the entire season."

Gould said a decertification effort would take until at least January to receive "definitive resolution" from a judicial process that would involve a circuit court in New York and then, probably, an appeals court.