Questions about RFAs Status

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by don, Feb 20, 2005.

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  1. don

    don Registered User

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    It has been said that a draft this year would be illegal since there is no CBA in place. How does this affect a teams RFAs? Without the agreement wouldn't they be free to sign with another team. :dunno: And do the signed players contracts become void if a new set of rules is imposed by the owners in place of the CBA? The legal questions that keep popping into my head just make this snowball bigger and bigger.
     
  2. Icey

    Icey Registered User

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    No contracts can be negotiated or signed during the lockout. Teams will still own RFA rights once the CBA gets hammered out and then they can qualify and sign their RFA.
     
  3. don

    don Registered User

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    That's what I don't understand

    The "rules" to an RFA were established under a CBA that no longer exists just like the draft "rules", so why is one void and the other still in place?
     
  4. Mighty Duck

    Mighty Duck Registered User

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    Under the old CBA, players who are not signed by/qualified by July 1 become UFA, so, you tell me, do they create a situation where the courts get involved, because the system of the old/new breaks anti-trust laws if there is no CBA.
     
  5. Other Dave

    Other Dave Registered User

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    I believe that RFA status, like anything else, is a point of negotiation under the new CBA, so there's no guarantee that players who would be considered RFAs under the old CBA would still be 'owned' under the new regime.
     
  6. bcrt2000

    bcrt2000 Registered User

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    from what I've heard from GMs and analysts, the RFA contracts pretty much disappear (because the team can't give a qualifying offer) and furthermore, another team could sign them with a "personal services contract" to lock them in until the NHL gets a new CBA
     
  7. don

    don Registered User

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    My point exactly

    This is my pont exactly. Any "rule" under the old CBA should be null and void. The only way the RFAs could be retained by their previous team would be for all of the owners to have a signed contract between themselves where they agree not to sign another teams players. And, as Other Dave points out, this would probably be a point of negotiation under the new CBA.

    So, if it can work like this for RFAs, why not have a draft and have the same rules apply. A teams "rights" (don't like the connotation of that word) to a player will have to be worked out in the CBA. Lets go ahead and have a draft and work the details of "rights" out later. The NHL has to do something now to keep fan interest up.
     
  8. Buffaloed

    Buffaloed webmaster

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    Currently all players on one-way contracts are UFA's. Their previous contracts are void and how those contracts will be recognized, if at all, must be included in the new CBA. During the previous lockout, the new CBA was made retroactive to the expired one so previous contracts were simply reinstated as written. It's all subject to negotiations. If the league is able to legally impose a CBA under impasse, it can recognize the terms of contracts signed under the old CBA any way it chooses that the NLRB deems reasonable. If they go that route, an across the board 24% pay cut is a given, along with any other concessions the NHLPA has made during negotiations.
     
  9. speeds

    speeds Registered User

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    another group that could create some problems is the 2004 draft class, to go along with the 2003 draft class, since the 2004 draft class would need their "bona fide" offers by June 1st to retain their rights under the old CBA.
     
  10. Buffaloed

    Buffaloed webmaster

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    It gets real messy. That's why I expect them to declare an impasse and impose a CBA if they don't get a deal done by May 1st.
     
  11. Jaded-Fan

    Jaded-Fan Registered User

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    Move all the legal issues aside. RFA's, 2004 unsigned drafted players, etc, even if a player could legally be a 'free agent', and I am doubting that is so, those would only be problems if those players had a place to sign. The owners have been very very unified to this point. Do you think that they would break that unity to nab an unsigned 2004 drafted player when they have not broken unity over much deeper issues? Neither do I.
     
  12. Other Dave

    Other Dave Registered User

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    Interesting take, but I'm not sure how it would pan out tactically. If I'm following the train of thought correctly, the teams would go ahead and draft eligible players under rules similar to that of the expired CBA, in anticipation of having those rules ratified eventually under the new CBA.

    The biggest problem I see (aside from legal angles that I'm unaware of) is that such a draft can then be used as leverage by the NHLPA: "The only way we accept the draft as you've held it is if you accede to x". As it stands right now the draft is not currently a point of contention, and I doubt the league would want to hand the PA any ammunition, simply in order to appease the fans. They have a long way to go before the hardcore becomes disillusioned (unfortunately).
     
  13. don

    don Registered User

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    I see your point......

    .....but I don't see where the players have a leg to stand on to contend anything. Any major roadblock could easily lead to the league folding and opening as a new league, i.e. PHL (Professional Hockey League). The owners of the "old" Boston Bruins could sell the naming and logo rights to the owners of the "new" Boston Bruins (don't get your hopes up Bruins fans because it will still be Jacobs). Players then would have the choice of playing hockey under the rules of the "PHL" or not playing at all and going back to cutting timber for a living. I'm sure that some of the hardcore dissenters would not sign up but I bet the majority of players would. I'm also sure that the quality of play would go down but that would only last for a few years until the new batch of superstars comes of age.
     
  14. mudcrutch79

    mudcrutch79 Registered User

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    Do do you know how to spell "unfair labour practice" boys and girls?
     
  15. don

    don Registered User

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    Yep

    but once an impass is declared and the the PA is decertified would it constitute an "unfair labor practice"? I don't claim to be a lawyer, thank God, and I did start off stating that the leagle questions are confusing. This is more so because of the different labor laws between the US and Canada. I think most of us are just throwing out "food for thought". Don't really need the sarcasm.
     
  16. vanlady

    vanlady Registered User

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    The union is not decertified by impasse. As a matter of fact the leauge and PA must continue to negotiate. The only things that can be implemented at impasse are mandatory subjects of bargaining. The Draft will likely not be mandatory thus not able to go ahead in an implementation scenario.

    In short, the union does not disappear because of impasse.
     
  17. Mess

    Mess Global Moderator

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    Interesting .. but the negotiated part is the key .. In an Impasse there is no Negotiated CBA it would be imposed by the NHL .. it could include Linkage and a lower Cap and 50% reduction in current contracts .. Then you are saying that the owners could then bind former rights and contracts to the new rules .. I am not sure this would be fair or right ..

    Right now we are at a clean slate both sides have taken all offers off the table and are beginning from fresh .. We are currently the fartherst from an IMPASSE possible.. So with that said .. Your 24% rollback was part of a previous negotiation not this new start up one .. Players where willing to give the rollback as a failed attempt to avoid a Hard Cap and Linkage. Technically the players by the cancelled season gave back 100% of last years wages .. So why would the 24% now even be relivant ???

    If the NHLPA decertifies the union in a response to a self imposed Owners CBA that drastically restricts players wages and rights then isn't courts going to hear 100's of unfair labour practice cases .. ??

    How do you see that happening ?? IMPASSE means no further movement on either side .. If the NHLPA gave the NHL a new proposal May 1st that lowers the Cap by say 500k to 48.5 M.. The NHL can't declare an Impasse if this where to happen and the court would never uphold it IMO ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2005
  18. Mess

    Mess Global Moderator

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    But doesn't this idea contradict your first post .. You asked about RFA's being UFA's due to no Qualifying offers ..If you fold the league then you just made 750 former NHLers all UFA and all the drafted kids as well as now certainly rights to players is not possible in this scenario ..
     
  19. me2

    me2 Calling out the crap

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    You don't think the NRLB would see straight through such a stunt? What next, they are going to go down 1c per day for the 10,000 years?

    The NRLB looking at both sides actions and determining genuine bargaining from bad faith stunts. That cuts both ways.
     
  20. vanlady

    vanlady Registered User

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    Unfortuanately if the NHL doesn't come up 1 cent to meet the PA concession they are guilty of unfair labor. So yes it does cut both ways
     
  21. Mess

    Mess Global Moderator

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    My suggestion was at least moving 500 K towards the middle many on here see the NHL offering a 35 M Cap with linkage next .

    What will the NLRB think of that move .. Perhaps that would not be considered regressive bargain but Bad Faith instead .

    NRLB ..What is that you are speaking of ?? .... and why are they important in this Dispute ..?? I am not familar with them ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2005
  22. me2

    me2 Calling out the crap

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    Rubbish. They don't have to come up. This isn't haggling over some rug in a 3rd world market place. If they did the NHLPA would have started its cap at $100m and be sure the NHL would have met in the middle at $70m.
     
  23. vanlady

    vanlady Registered User

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    They must make concessions if the PA does, if they fail to make any concessions at all, that is Boulwarism and is highly illegal in the US
     
  24. djhn579

    djhn579 Registered User

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    The NHL must bargain, but they do not have to make a concession on something that they consider a critical element, especially if they are willing to make concessions on everything else...

    Under Section 8(d), neither party is required to make concessions or agree to a proposal. As a result, hard bargaining by itself is presumably legal.



    Boulwarism is more than just refusing to give concessions on a specific point...

    Scenario A of this case outlines the basic tactics of Boulwarism which became the foundation for the legal dispute over the tactic. The essential elements of Boulwarism, for legal purposes were:

    1) Offering to the union a packaged proposal on an "all or nothing, take it or leave it" basis.

    2) Exhibiting, at the table, a willingness to explain its proposal and to listen to counterproposals, but refusing pro forma (as a matter of form) to make any changes in the complete package, and

    3) Appealing directly to the workforce to encourage acceptance of the package, by providing detailed information on the basis for the unilaterally established package.

    Additionally:
    Boulwarism was determined by the Board and the appellate court to represent bad faith bargaining. In the court decision, the critical issue was the combination of tactics, each of which might have been legal in the abstract. By combining specific tactics which may be legal into an overall effort to circumvent the union, the company had engaged in bad faith bargaining.


    http://www.missouri.edu/~labored/1997-18.html
     
  25. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    Well djhn579, was that supposed to be a defense for the owners? Certainly seems damning to me.
     
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