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Latest News - December 2012

December 21, 2012
Board Gets Authority to Dissolve N.H.L. Union
Source: The New York Times

The N.H.L. Players’ Association voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving its executive board the power to file a disclaimer of interest and effectively dissolve the union, the latest step in the increasingly damaging 97-day N.H.L. lockout.

The authorization by the union’s more than 700 members, which followed a five-day voting period, was widely expected. The measure needed a two-thirds vote to pass. Players confirmed the result Friday.

The 30-member executive board, composed of one player from each of the league’s teams, has until Jan. 2 to decide whether it will file the disclaimer.

If the board does file, the union would dissolve and become a trade association. That would open the way for individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the N.H.L.

Last week, the N.H.L. filed a pre-emptive class-action complaint in federal court in New York seeking to confirm the legality of the lockout, which the players would challenge if they filed antitrust suits. The league also filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the union’s disclaimer authorization vote “constitutes bad-faith bargaining.”

Players’ association officials said they would have no comment on the vote because it was an internal union matter.

Bill Daly, the N.H.L. deputy commissioner, said in an e-mail message that the league had no comment on the vote. He also said that neither the league nor the union had reached out about starting new bargaining in the coming days.

No negotiations have taken place between the two sides since talks with mediators broke down Dec. 13.

On Thursday, the league canceled games through Jan. 14, wiping out more than half the schedule. That raised speculation that the N.H.L.’s next cancellation would be the rest of the season.

During last year’s N.B.A. lockout, its players’ union filed a disclaimer of interest, dissolving the union and converting it into a trade association.

But 12 days later, the players and the league agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. Antitrust suits filed by the players against the N.B.A. were withdrawn, and the union re-formed.



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