How Bettman breaks the Union and how Crosby can really gum up the works....a little.

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Ghost of Dale Hunter, Jan 7, 2005.

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  1. Ghost of Dale Hunter

    Ghost of Dale Hunter Registered User

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    First, the impasse is the obvious solution. The way I understand it is that the NHL, after a year, will go to the Federal Labor Relation
    Authority and claim impasse saying the players are not bargaining in good faith.

    This will be a crucial point as I belive that their books will be thrown open at this point. The owners must be pretty secure in their position to do this. The reason is GW Bush. Through personal experience I can assure you that the current climate is not good for a labor Union made up of millionaire athletes. Hell, it is awful for us and I'm a federal employee. The FLRA is basically a Bush appointed authority and I believe, hell, I know, Bush will jump all over the opportunity to crush the players union.

    What will basically occur is a direct implementation of whatever rules the owners want and the league will restart with replacement players and an open invite to all existing players to join back at league terms with a drop dead date. After the drop dead date they will not allow any of those players to play in the New look NHL, costing them another season. The year after that the will open a window to these players again and it will continue on that way.

    My guess is a salary scale based on years of service (sort of like National Lacrosse League) plus some escalator provisions (Franchise players) for top players as well as a hard cap. I assume you would also see some medieval disciplinary rules imposed as well as a possible roster reduction. Lastly, you would see a rookie salary cap similar to the NFL with players slotted and draft age moving to 20.

    The players can sue all they want, but I estimate their chances of winning to be 1 in 20. You may see a rival Canada only league sprout up, and probably be better, but in the end money will rule the day.

    Now, as for Crosby. If he is smart, he will challenge his draft status by saying that he should have been eligible for the upcoming draft and the league is illegally restraining him from work by not conducting one. He would claim eligibility under the old CBA and that he is illegally being denied work under the new one.

    Of course the league would love this and probably make a deal with him to make him a centerpiece of the "new look" NHL.

    That is my dire prediction. Hopefully, I am dead wrong.
     
  2. MarkZackKarl

    MarkZackKarl Registered User

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    wrong

    You'll be dead wrong.
     
  3. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    The owners would never be able to acheive impasse if the current bargaining trend is going the way it is. The court would claim both sides are not trying hard enough because as the trend is going, they're only meeting twice every 3 months. Both sides would have to be locked in a room for like a month before impasse can even to begin to be an option.
     
  4. pacde

    pacde Registered User

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    Maybe they will start the process in June.
     
  5. There are a couple problems with getting the impasse. The first is to actually propose a full CBA to the players and that it be negotiated in good faith. The second would be that the league operates in 2 countries so what may work in the States may not work in all of Canada (particularly British Columbia as I hear their labor board is very pro-union and won't allow replacement players). So the league would have to get all of the Canucks to cross the picket line (and yes it would turn into a strike if the league imposed its own CBA) and that's just not likely when the NHLPA's president is a Canuck. And the owners are okay with opening their books to the labor boards probably because most have been able to hide revenues in their arena management companies (there are more owners than Wirtz that do this). With the separation of power in the US, it does allow a labor board to make one decision but the courts can overrule them. If the players can prove that the owners were not negotiating in good faith (specifically aiming for an impasse to unilaterally implement their plan), then their odds may exponentially get better.
     
  6. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    I guess I've got to know how some "really gums up the works"..."a little"??? its either one way or the other.
     
  7. Peter

    Peter Registered User

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    1) Many labour lawyers in both countries are already saying there is enough on the table for the NHL to declare and impass.

    2) The Canucks, as was discussed before, would have to play out of the States: most likely Seattle, if replacement players were being used.
     
  8. tantalum

    tantalum Registered User

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    Perhaps but I saw a little blurb in todays Halifax paper that they figure the no-scab laws in Quebec have cost the province 30,000 jobs. It was a conservative think-tabk so take it with a grain of salt.

    The end result is laws can change...Especially for a big industry important to the community in monetary terms. I'd think more so for an industry that can essentially just pick up go to, say, Seattle as you suggest. There are no resources tying them down to the community. If the government feels the millions of dollars the team brings into the community is worth making an exception over they will make that exception...especially when the piece of the puzzle that will be hurt is only a millionaire "union" while those helped will be the waiters, waitresses, restaurant/bar owners, parking attendants etc. of the city that get to keep their jobs and businesses.

    There is also of course the issue of whether or not the NHLPA is an actual union as well...which is a necessity in order for the anti-scab laws to apply I believe.
     
  9. On the 1st thing, that may or may not be true but if the NHL were purposely aiming for an impasse then there could be legal ramifications of such actions I'm sure. On the 2nd part, I think that's a slippery slope that the league would take if they moved a team temporarily like that. What if B.C. barred the Canucks from returning as a result of the move?? I would also bet that there could be legal recourse from the player's and probably B.C. to block such a move. And I haven't seen where this was discussed before but what basis is this on? Is it coming from the media up in B.C. or what?
     
  10. Macman

    Macman Registered User

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    If that's the owners' plan, then they're dumber than I think they already are. The public will never embrace replacement players, a new league, or any scenario where anything other than the world's best players are involved. If they think they're losing money now, just wait. The other thing owners have to realize is that once players get a taste of playing in Europe, some of them could easily stay or go back when their contracts expire. Let's assume that the NHL resumes with either a drastic reduction in salaries or some sort of cap. The salary gap between Europe and the NHL will be much smaller and the attraction of getting, let's say, a million or two a year tax free for playing half as many games and not being crippled when you retire could become pretty strong -- especially for players from Europe. What's Lecavalier making in Russia? $300,000 US a month? Mmmm.

    The owners are walking on dangerous ground here and have to realize that it's the players the fans buy tickets to see, not them.
     
  11. nyr7andcounting

    nyr7andcounting Registered User

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    I also assume that the Canucks owners themselves could prevent such a move, by just saying we aren't playing anywhere by Vancouver?
     
  12. fan mao rong

    fan mao rong Registered User

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    Well, then, if your theory is correct,, all a Union has to do is never show up to bargain and there can never be any impasse, ever. After looking over the rest of this thread, there is so much hooey here, it is hard to even remember it all. Let's see.The owners may declare impasse unilaterally. That is why it is called unilateral implementation. Then the union might challenge this. The possible grounds for reversal, in this case, as I see it, are: impasse is not at hand, or, not bargaining in good faith. Impasse, being when both sides are fixed in their positions with little hope of compromises, typifies this situation. Salary cap or no salary cap. That seems to be a point of impasse. If either side departs from this, perhaps impasse is broken, but it appears unlikely. Good faith bargaining does not require constant compromises and concessions by either side. It is that both sides are available to bargain when the other side requests it, and that they are open-minded. If one side has an opinion and sticks with it from beginning to end, that is not necessarily bad faith. There is a requirement that parties negotiate with an open mind, and that is subject to interpretation. Whether the ownership planned impasse from the beginning is a theory. Setting aside money for a lockout is sound business. Ownership made proposals to which the union could have acceded with little damage to themselves, and there could then be no impasse. Where the idea that ownership must propose a full and complete CBA comes from, I have no idea. Management must negotiate on mandatory subjects of bargaining and when sufficiently bargained over they can implement those subjects and all non-mandatory subjects also. You can't believe there are no non-madatory subjects, do you? I believe they should not implement a draft or reserve system, regardless as these might be anti-trust matters, but a raft of salary limitations, instead will negate this factor of reversal and might get union negotiation to start. And, yes, impasse and implementation , is temporary in the sense that the purpose of labor law is to get a collective bargaining agreement. The way the union can break impasse , is to agree to management proposals. So, really they should get started on this, now , and arrive at a collective bargaining agreement to prevent their future losses. What do they expect?, to sit out 2 years and come back to their previous situation?
     
  13. struckmatch

    struckmatch Registered User

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    Actually, the NLRB are appointed by President Bush, and they are known to show dislike for organized labor, and according to Brian Burke, who is a lawyer, he does think that the NHL has a very good case for impasse.

    It is not considered illegal to advocate a main sticking point in your negotiation such as a salary cap, and never come off that notion. What both sides are doing is perfectly legal bargaining practices.
     
  14. Ghost of Dale Hunter

    Ghost of Dale Hunter Registered User

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    I thought of that after the post..oh well....
     
  15. MojoJojo

    MojoJojo Registered User

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    Bush appointees or not, I cant see the NRLB imposing a salary cap, the basis of which violates US anti-trust law, which is what the impasse is all about. The owners could very well get stuck without a cap if this is the route they chose to take. Even if the NRLB does impose a system with a cap, the cap will immediately be challenged in court and would be thrown out. The only hope for the owners to get a cap system in place without the consent of the players (that is, without making any concessions to get one), is if Congress directly passes a law explicitly creating a loophole for the NHL in the Sherman Anti-trust act.
     
  16. Ghost of Dale Hunter

    Ghost of Dale Hunter Registered User

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    I have FLRA on the brain, they service federal labor. I stand corrected.


    People may come to see the players, but those people are the same ones disgusted with the Jagrs and Modanos of the world right now. The also are sick of paying 50 dollars for bad seats to see bad hockey.
    The owners have a great case for impasse for the following reason.

    The owners hold all the cards. They are asking for a system that is already in use in other "healthier" spors leagues. Their only burden before the board is to show that the players proposals don't fix their fundemental problems then they are not obligated to accept them.

    The real problem for the players is the other leagues. The owners can show "sucess" in the formulas they are proposing and show "failure" in the current structure and the one the players are advocating.

    Add to that the fact that Unionism is a bad word in american politics these days and the players ship is sinking.

    Furthermore, whom in America is going to stand up and protest? Our labor unions, most of us are holding on for dear life. The people, they reelected Bush even though he is a union breaker and has run roughshod over the american labor force. The players have few friends and the list is growing shorter. Furthermore, I am willing to bet that strict limits start getting placed on the number of Americans playing in Canada and the number of Canadians and Americans playing in leagues overseas.Further squeezing the players.

    As for Canada, the reality is that the Canadian clubs have to fall in line, they are associated with the league. The players may form their own Canadian only league, but it wont be with the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, etc(trademark NHL property)..... Right or wrong, the league sold its soul to American money 30 years ago and now they are married for better or worse.

    Furthermore, I don't think the league gives a darn if the current group of "superstars" ever plays again. Give em Crosby, Ovechkin, etc.. and see who cares in 5 years.

    Give em 5 years at cost certainty, with cheaper tickets and a younger growing(hopefully) fan base under the new system and bingo, everyone(well not most of us on these boards) is happy.

    I will stand on this though, you give this administration any opportunity to deliver the death blow to a pro sports union, watch em jump on it.

    And that sucks.
     
  17. Ghost of Dale Hunter

    Ghost of Dale Hunter Registered User

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    I could see that happening, it would be easy legislation for them to pass. i can already see Tom Delay decrying the greed of the modern athelete......... makes me sick to my stomach.
     
  18. salty justice

    salty justice Registered User

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    In your little scenario, what would happen to teams holding player rights? Would those too be killed and everything start fresh?
     
  19. Ghost of Dale Hunter

    Ghost of Dale Hunter Registered User

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    My guess would be this:

    1) Team shold player rights for all players currently under contract, basically claiming the contracts were frozen during the dispute. They give the players a drop dead date to report under the terms of the new CBA... If the players fail to report then the players are unavailable to participate until the following year.

    They could eliminate higher paid unperformers by flat out releasing them or by voiding the players contracts for breach for failing to show up.

    The little guys of the league would realy have no choice to report and the Modanos etc might find themselves out for another year then coming back into a league with ahard cap and no extra money to spend....

    I am sure there is about 100 illegal things about what I just outlined, but not collecting a check for three years has a strange calming effect on rampant emotions.

    Plus, honestly, who is going to care in three years about the Modanos and Guerins etc whom are 35 something anyway?
     
  20. bleedgreen

    bleedgreen Registered User

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    you must have missed the espn magazines article on vinny and richards. richards was miserable and couldnt wait to go home. vinnie put on a good face, but both of them said they would much rather be home. from what ive read, except for maybe the guys in switzerland, almost everyone wants back already. i read a kovulchuk quote where he said something along the lines of " i waited all my life to go play in the nhl, and now im back here?"
    im sure a couple of guys would stay to be with their families, but the majority would be on a plane back an hour after a deal was struck.
     
  21. Digger12

    Digger12 Gold Fever

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    CBC had a small special on this, and it essentially backs up what you stated. The interesting thing about the TV bit was when CBC interviewed some of the Ak Bars Kazan locals...apparently they're not exactly enamoured with the NHLers either, making comments about how they're stealing jobs from Russians and deriding them for their inability to vault their team to the top of the standings despite their NHL 'superstardom'.

    I don't know if anyone is caring to notice, but the European Vacation is starting to wear very thin very fast. Even Sundin seemed all glum-faced during his interview about what it was like being back home in Sweden...he said all the right things, but the body language screamed otherwise.

    A few months is fine, but a year or more? I dunno.
     
  22. CarlRacki

    CarlRacki Registered User

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    Exactly. Most players, particularly North American players, have no realistic option outside the NHL, which makes their hardline stance so baffling.
    Also, on Lecavalier making $300K a month... wow. That'll work out to about $1.5 million a year, about half to a third of what he'd make in the NHL after taxes. And for those righteous bucks he gets to live far from family and friends in beautiful Kazan, Russia with an average January temperature of 6.8 F/-14C. Who would want Florida's Gulf Coast when you can have that?
     
  23. missK

    missK Registered User

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    The $300K a month is a month-to-month deal, who's to say the owner could continue to pay it longer? It is totally an exception, NOT the norm for Russia. Reports are Richards and Khabibulin are getting the same $300K/mo and then what is Ak Bars also paying the other 8 NHLers on their team? I don't think hockey revenues in Ak Bars can support those type of salaries long term. I don't think any team in Russia can support that long term.
     
  24. SuperUnknown

    SuperUnknown Registered User

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    The owner of AK Bars is using his fortune to sponsor those salaries. RSL revenues aren't high enough to support those contracts.
     
  25. fan mao rong

    fan mao rong Registered User

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    Well, yeah, you got one thing right. The NLRB doesn't impose anything. They rule on the actions of the parties. So you got that right. Maybe there's some random ideas scralled on the wall and a dart was thrown . That's the one that hit right. Upon obtaining impasse, management can impose Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining (relating to wages , terms, and conditions) if they have been bargained over in good faith to impasse. At that time they can also impose non-mandatory subjects of their choosing. Matters subject to collective bargaining are not subject to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Unions are not legal under Sherman, and if at some point the Union decertifies and sues under Sherman the notion of a salary cap would seem to me to fall under the category of wages. Even if the theory of no caps allowed under Sherman could somehow be valid, the limitation of individual salary limitations surely would not be, which could make a defacto cap without room for better players to be better compensated. As to ownership being stuck without a cap, unless they choose to fold (which doesn't seem at all possible) I don't see it. Even if found in violation of all some claim on here, the NLRB can state that the terms of the old CBA is in effect(don't see it) but they can not make them open for business or resume operations under it. If the players are awarded untold millions under these offenses some see on here, they could only collect on them by the selling of the assets of the hockey club alone, and the league alone which probably wouldn't bring back much of anything, maybe 1 cent on the dollar. The assets of a sports team are really only the contracts of the players the lease at an arena and other things which require money to be paid out. Also logos, team names, and the rights to some gaming revenues, which will be pretty much valueless if no one can afford to put on high level games. And maybe they could sell off some office furniture. So if such a judgement was obtained, the players would have to make accomodations to ever be highly compensated to play again. That should be their goal.
     
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