Salary rollback - is it legal?

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by shveik, Dec 15, 2004.

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  1. shveik

    shveik Registered User

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    I was stunned to learn the players proposal to roll back the salaries. IMO this addressed the major problem with NHL financial health - all those insane salaries that were given out up until a couple of years ago. However, I am not sure that NHLPA *can* propose anything like that. For example, what's to stop Jaromir Jagr from suing the Rangers to stick to the original binding contract of $10mil a year?
     
  2. mudcrutch79

    mudcrutch79 Registered User

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    The provision in the SPC making his contract subordinate to the CBA.

     
  3. justapantherfan

    justapantherfan Registered User

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    That's one of the ways a union works. All the members agree (or vote) and if it's agreed on then the payroll deduction goes in to effect, or what ever they may be talking about. There is nothing any player can do as it was agreed on.
     
  4. Puck

    Puck Ninja

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    I was thinking the same thing.

    Ok, the player and GM were legally bound to follow the CBA rules when they entered into the contract. If they did so under the rules of that CBA at the time and in good faith, how does a new CBA negate that contract? It sets rules for new contracts, but can they wipe out all past legally binding contracts?

    Goodenow himself said in his post-meeting interview, what sets this PA apart from other unions is that they don't negotiate salaries for the players. That is a contract between the player and the team. If both signed that agreement in good faith under the CBA rules at the time, can it really be turned back later? Yes if the two parties agree, but what if they don't. I'd like to see a precedent on that myself....Article 18 or no Article 18....

    I dunno if Jagr could sue the Rangers but he could ask a court that his contract be honored. No? I'm just asking for sake of argument....
     
  5. shveik

    shveik Registered User

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    This clears up a lot.

    However, I am not sure that there is no legal ground in disputing this rollback. After all, it is not possible to agree to something that you do not know (such as the CBA "to be entered into"). So clearly this article 18 makes such salary rollback legal, the question is, are there grounds for legal dispute of the result by an individual player? If there were no salary rollbacks like this in the past, IMO a player can rightfully claim that such effect in the CBA was not anticipated at the time the contract was signed. In that case either release from the contract (UFA, RFA status), or enforcement of the original salary level negotiated could be argued for. *)

    No?

    [SIZE=-10]*) IANAL[/SIZE]
     
  6. Kaiped Krusader

    Kaiped Krusader Registered User

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    I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine it would matter that there had been no salary rollbacks in the past. If a player signs a contract that says he agrees to any future CBA agreements his union will make with the league then he has to live with it - whether he anticipated it or not. The only way I could see there being an issue would be if a new CBA violated some U.S. or Canadian federal (or state/provincial) employment law and a player's agent or lawyer found a way to exploit that.
     
  7. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    If the union members ratify a CBA proposal negotiated between their union and management, and it contains a salary rollback, i cant see how any individual player could then sue for that old contract. The union has the ability, as we have seen from their offer, to rollback salaries. As long as the majority ratify it, its binding. Thats life in a union. Star players would definitely be better off without it.
     
  8. Sammy*

    Sammy* Guest

    If there is no hockey they wont be.They are the guys who have the most to lose if there is no hockey, so it was hardly them making a magnaminous gesture, as opposed to the lower paid guys.
     
  9. Lionel Hutz

    Lionel Hutz Registered User

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    No. That is a nice argument, and creative, and it is something that could be tried. However it would never work. The CBA is like the Constitution of these labour contracts. Anything falling outside of them is void and legally un-enforceable.

    Even if the court was prepared to entertain this issue, the compelling counter-argument would be that at the time the contract was signed it was known that this contract would overlap the expiry of the CBA. Acheiving a new CBA would require negotiations, and negotiations may involve concessions by either side. Therefore by extension, such changes are reasonably foreseeable.
     
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