Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by HABitual, Oct 13, 2005.
Just trying to recover from a lockout and now this bad publicity
I honestly do not see how they can possibly win this case. The league is not telling the players they cannot make more than $75,000 in the minors. They are just saying that if they want to play in the NHL they will probably have to make less than that. There is nothing in any of these players contracts that guarantees that they will/should have an opportunity to play in the NHL.
good, i hope they burn those owners to the proverbial cross. those rats deserve whatever pain comes there way for deciding their yachts and cavier were more important than the NHL.
They have a very good case, that part of the CBA has an effect of imposing a cap on wages of about $75,000 in the AHL which in turn would also have the affect of suppressing wages for each player in the AHL. In other words it would create an artificial cap on individual wages in the AHL. They have an interesting case here and my guess is we'll be hearing more about this in the near future.
I do. If they really want to win, the AHL/ECHL players should refuse to play. How would the NHL solve that?
I'm still split on this, though. I'm still not a big fan of someone having to clear waivers and move his family just because of he makes too much money in minor league hockey. I'll have to hear more arguments.
I don't know if that would solve anything... probably hurt the players in the long run. What a way to celebrate the AHL's 70th.. with a union strike!
I just can't believe it took this long for someone to make a statement. I know this is one of the first things that came to my attention after the CBA was announced, the $75,000 thing with waivers just stood out.
The title of the thread should probably be changed to: "PHPA could sue NHL".
I wonder if they could just sue the NHL, though. I think they'd have to go after the NHLPA as well. They are basically saying that both groups negotiated outside of their bounds by imposing terms that effect members outside of the bargaining unit.
Interesting idea. I hope it happens. I was hoping to see at least one decent lawsuit out of this whole fiasco.
The PHPA is the only real "union" in sports that in any way shape or form resembles the traditional trade unions (Example, CAW). Their members make gains in benefits and rights, their raison d'etre is not to increase salaries as per NHLPA, MLBPA, and NBAPA (where "benefits" is a misnomer and a term of "entitled luxuries" is more appropo).
Notice I've left out the NFLPA. I would move them closer to the PHPA in this regard. These are organizations where there is a severe and almost liquid fluctuation among their respective Memberships. As such, it can be convincingly argued that these are athletes who are in need of protection from ownership abuse in a much realer sense than any of the previously mentioned PA's.
Coming from this standpoint, and that many NHL'ers were former PHPA'ers, you would think the NHLPA would step outside its self-interest and look out for the best interests of the wider industry. Not so here. The NHLPA is as much to blame for the CBA as the ownership is.
Simply put, this is a case where you have a bureacracy of agents and players, in co-ordination with the owners suppressing the right of those beneath their quality to earn fair compensation for their efforts. "Stomping" or "throwing them under the bus" would also be sufficient characterization in this case.
It's anything but clear cut, but I just thought I would mention that you've got two equally destestable bodies in both the NHL and NHLPA.
The interesting thing is that the average player on the ice does not have a clue about the implications of this agreement (both the NHL player and PHPA member). There will be resistance on all sides of this issue, so the real story out of this will be the point of law that results. I expect that is why the NFLPA is involved here. I don't think the PHPA is financing an antitrust suit on their own, and considering that the effects of a decision will ripple out over the entire sports industry I don't think its unreasonable to see other PA's join in. In fact, they would be remiss if they didn't. Such a precedent could affect all of them.
(Note NFLPA involvement: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20051013/UNION13/TPSports/Hockey)
What a sad commentary on the state of the NHLPA's stature in the sports labour community that all of their contemporaries just may sit up and exclaim "this is so bad, even we can't accept it!"
Bravo, Goodenow, Linden and Saskin. Bravo.
The linked story does not mention the NFLPA. Is it mentioned in another article somewhere else?
I agreed and changed it. Misleading thread titles are a pet peeve of mine.
I edited and added the link in my original post.
Wouldnt a lawsuit have to be brought against the NHLPA as well..since what they are whining about is a COLLECTIVE bargaining agreement?
Sure...minor leaugers sue major leaguers. That would be fun to watch when one of em gets called up to play in the show.
Right you are, and the article in the Star actually makes this point. The Rick Westhead article is by ffar the most comprehensive. Here's the quote:
"Kessler also warned the NHLPA that the new CBA might present the union with anti-trust complications.
'It is black-letter law that a union forfeits its exemption from the antitrust laws when it is clearly shown that it has agreed with one set of employers to impose a certain wage scale on other bargaining units," Kessler wrote.'"
egotist: These are organizations where there is a severe and almost liquid fluctuation among their respective Memberships.
Not sure what you mean by this??? can you explain?
I was discussing this issue on another board, and it unfortunatey seems as though it does not interest too many people....I have felt all along that the new CBA hurts minor leaguers and entry level NHL'ers more than anyone else...kind of sickening.
What I mean to say -and I'm not saying it clearly- is that their memberships fluctuate. PHPA Members come and go to a large extent at the whims of their teams. Sports unions are unlike most other unions because as a rule they do NOT negotiate job security (otherwise you could never cut players), they negotiate compensation and benefits depending on their status.
The NFLPA is somewhat similar to the PHPA in that no player has a guaranteed contract and can be turfed out of the NFL and the NFLPA (there are exceptions). The NBAPA, MLBPA and NHLPA all deal in guaranteed contracts (though none do so exclusively). The PHPA is sort of a hybrid between these entities but the vast majority of these players hop between professional leagues (between the E, the U, the W, the N, and Euro leagues) so that's where I was going with it.
It was not my intention to be misleading. I just thought that using AHL/ECHL would be more recognizeable than PHPA.
The same way it solved it's fight with the NHLPA: Let them rot. Minor leaguers - 80% of which will never spend significant time in the NHL, wont concern the NHL all that much.
Of course, if PHPA players sat out, they would be staging a wildcat strike against the AHL and ECHL, not the NHL. I suspect the AHL and ECHL would then take the PHPA to court to end such a strike.
I am not a big fan of it either, as I believe it fills a non existant loophole. That said, I am not certian the PHPA has much of a case. A player who signs an AHL/ECHL contract still has the right to sign for more than $75k. There is no cap being forced by the NHL/NHLPA. Players have the right to sign for what they believe is fair, and if they believe that signing for $75k in exchange for a shot at the NHL is fair, that is their decision.
and how is that any different when the NHLPA were saying if the owners believed overspending in exchange for "whatever reason" that owner had was fair because it was there decision ?
the argument was always, well what one owner does affected the others. well the same applies here, what one minor leaguer agree's to will affect the others.
Jeez, who p***ed in your cornflakes?
I'm afraid I don't get the basis for a complaint here.
First of all, my (meagre, since I have no CBA to refer to) understanding of the purpose of the waiver mechanism is to allow players not to be trapped in a minor league affiliate of a major league team (and paid at a minor league salary) when the major league roster is maxed out. In short, the waiver gives a chance for a major league calibre player to escape from the minor league trap when he's good enough to play in the NHL somewhere. Therefore, this would have been bargained collectively on behalf of the NHL players, not owners.
The other thing I don't get is how it constrains minor league salaries per se. There is nothing in my understanding that precludes an AHL team from directly making a contract with a player at more than $75,000. It seems to me that the issue here is that AHL player contracts are not AHL team to AHL player contracts, they are NHL team to prospective-NHL-player contracts where the parties have exercised their option to sign a two way rather than a one way contract. AHL players are not compelled to sign this. Also, while their AHL salaries are constrained by the NHL-NHLPA standard contract form and maximum salary/waiver rules, this was collectively bargained and thus valid.
The complaint seems to go to the heart of the whether collective bargaining is or is not subject to anti-trust rules. However, the US courts long ago established a non-statutory exemption from the Sherman act for collective bargaining. As a result, the collectively bargained labour agreement is golden, even though it has resulted in some minor league players being thrown under the bus, as it were for the benefit of better opportunities for more skilled players.
In any event, to me, the minor league players are a day late. If they thought they were not being represented by their union (the NHLPA), they should have sought to have themselves removed from the bargaining unit. Don't think this happened.
But not all minor league players are covered by the NHLPA. Many/most of them are under AHL contract only and are solely members of the PHPA.
I don't think the argument here is for AHL players on NHL 2-way contracts - they agree to the terms of the NHL/NHLPA CBA when they sign the SPC and they become members of the bargaining unit covered by the CBA. The non statutory labor exemption prevents them from challenging the CBA terms.
But, I think that the PHPA is arguing that the CBA $75K limit is placing an effective cap on the salaries of players who are under contract to only their AHL team. They are members of the PHPA but not the NHLPA. They are not part of the bargaining unit covered by the NHL/NHLPA CBA. For them, the $75K limit is not the product of collective bargaining - it was not negotiated by the PHPA - and as such the non statutory exemption does not apply.
The question then is whether the $75K limit for callup waivers is effectively a limit on AHL salaries - forcing AHL players to choose between what they deem to be market rate for their salaries (as negotiated between them and the AHL team and subject to the terms of the AHL/PHPA CBA) and an artificially imposed limit which would allow for the possibility of an NHL callup.
This is unlike the restrictions on unsigned draftees, which have no impact on the player untill he signs an NHL contract and retroactively agrees to be covered by all the terms of the CBA. The AHL player has not signed any agreement with the NHL, but is still being negatively affected by the collaborative action of the 30 NHL teams.
Before I start, thanks for responding to my post...
Anyway, I still don't get how there's an anti-trust case against either the NHL or NHLPA. If the case relates to players who directly contract with a minor league team rather than with an NHL team on a two way contract, the constraint on the transaction doesn't exist. The team is completely free to contract at more than $75,000 and the player is free not to accept an offer of only $75,000. What the PHPA seems to be asserting is that the NHL waiver rules are having and INDIRECT impact on maximum contract offers by AHL teams. If so, who is the beef against? In my view, this really says that AHL teams are the problematic party, not the NHL or the NHLPA. Even then, I don't see an issue. An AHL team that won't offer more than what they pay players assigned to them on 2 ways as a matter of business policy is, arguably, just reflecting the competitive marketplace for minor league skill level players. However, unless the PHPA can prove that NHL-NHLPA CBA actually somehow directly and expressly prevents an AHL team from paying more than $75,000, I just don't see a case.
Exactly! The only players who are affected by the $75,000 limit are guys who are looking to make it to the NHL. If these guys are career minor-league players then the $75,000 rule would have no affect on them. They could make as much as the AHL/ECHL team is willing to pay. Since they will not be called up to the NHL at anytime during the season they would have nothing to do with the waiver rule.
ahl teams in philadelphia and toronto are raking it in so why shoukdnt ahl'ers get a peice of the pie!!!!