Blog Entry

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:53 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 9:07 pm
NEW YORK -- Union chief Billy Hunter said Tuesday he's "cool" with Paul Pierce leading a decertification movement within the National Basketball Players Association and is "not at all opposed" to the Celtics star taking the lead.

"I think Paul is kind of frustrated with the process," Hunter said after a news conference in which the players said they were rejecting the league's latest take-it-or-leave-it proposal. "Paul has been at the bargaining table and he doesn’t feel that we’ve been making any kind of progress. And so he thought that maybe that’s necessary. We don’t have a lot of options and that’s the option Paul was pushing – still is pushing."

Asked in a small group of reporters if he's cool with that, Hunter said, "Of course. Listen, I’m cool with Paul and all these guys. I think it’s very important. I’m happy that Paul and the others are involved in the process. That’s always been the problem with athletes, that a lot of stuff is foisted on them and they have no input. Paul has been actively engaged, he understands, he’s been in five or six of our negotiating sessions, he talks to me, and when they had the (decertification) calls, he called and let me know that they were having the calls. And I said, 'Hey, I'm not at all opposed to you doing that.' ... I endorse what Paul did."

Hunter later said in an interview on NBA TV that Pierce informed him Tuesday that about 200 players have committed to signing a petition seeking a decertification election if a deal is not consummated before commissioner David Stern's 5 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline to accept the owners' latest proposal -- which includes the same 50-50 split of revenues the union is now prepared to accept.

With owners almost certainly following through on their threat to forward a worse proposal to the players if they didn't accept the one on the table, the talks could be thrust into chaos even if Hunter is successful in securing another bargaining session Wednesday. Once the decertification petition is filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the players seeking to dissolve the union would have to wait 45-60 days for the agency to hold an election -- a period during which negotiations with the NBPA could continue.

But given how long Hunter has been waiting for the NLRB to act on the union's unfair labor practices charge, filed in May and amended in July, it's anyone's guess as to whether a decertification threat could be carried out and reach a conclusion in time to save the season. In general, the NLRB does not authorize decertification petitions and or schedule elections while a union has an unfair labor practices charge pending.

"It’s like waiting for the fairy godmother," Hunter said, chiding the NLRB for failing to act on the union's charge, for which a complaint against the NBA could result in a federal injunction lifting the lockout. The NBA subsequently filed am NLRB charge of failing to bargain in good faith against the union, and there's been no action on that one, either.

"I'm hoping that they will get some expedition, particularly if they’re reading in the papers all the things that are happening," Hunter said. "It’s getting hectic on both sides of the table. It’s a federal agency beaurocracy and maybe they think it’s too hot a potato, they don’t want to touch it."

Or just as likely, the NLRB has been hoping the two parties can reach a new collective bargaining agreement on their own without the agency's intervention. If rational minds prevail, that's still possible -- given that the league and union have finally closed what was once a multi-billion-dollar economic gap and have only a handful of system issues, some fairly minor, standing in the way of a deal.


Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 8:49 am

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

Can't argue with you here. I haven't really been a NBA fan since the early 90's and haven't been to a game since that time. I have no desire to go to a NBA game but might consider it if the owners hire players who actually were worth their weight.  This dramatic offseason has been the most entertaining I have found the NBA in years. The league has serious problems and a new influx of young talent willing to play at reasonable salaries and in turn reduce ticket prices sounds good to me. Dissolve the players union. Dissolve the current player contracts (wherever possible).

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 7:58 am

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

Of course Hunter wouldn't mind decertification. Not only is decertification a bargaining tool, it takes Hunter off the hook.

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:30 am

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

say good night and good bye to the nba.. the players don't like the easy money they make... maybe going back to college and playing for free for a couple of years they will appreciate what the ownership has done for the game...

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:33 am

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

I say the fans go on strike until we can get at least 20%.  Let the owners and players fight over the other 80%.  They could go 40-40 or 43-37, but give us our 20%!!!  (If you can't tell, I'm joking)

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:23 am

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

Who says the sway any owner inflicts on their employees is unfair - you?! I understand the principle you are trying to support, but do we really have to care about who makes everything we buy or consume? I don't know about in the USA, but in Australia coal miners make a LOT of money - you don't have to worry about them!!
I think most people feel 'poor me, the fan' because we consume the product, as you say. When did the customer / consumer stop being right?! I would suggest that if the fans are complaining it would serve the owners and players right to listen. After all, if the fans walk away it doesn't matter what deal the owners and players strike up because a viable league won't exist.
I think you have completely underplayed the importance of the fans in this equation, notwithstanding that the dispute is indeed between the owners and the players.
Do you feel the same way when disputes between owners / management and employees affect your day to day? What would you think if power companies went on strike? If medical and emergency services were not available? etc. I am not saying basketball is as critical as any of these, but the principle is the same. After all, your whole comment seemed to based on priciples.
I also think it is slightly hypocritical to claim that the fans don't give a crap about the players (the ones who actually produce the product we consume), given it seems the players don't seem to bothered about the consumers for whom they produce their product - vast majority of which can only dream of making the kind of money those same players make and yet work much harder.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:59 pm

Let 'em rot...

The NBA Players' Association is a bunch of mice floating down a river on their backs and asking for the drawbridge to be raised.  They have seriously overestimated their places on the food chain.  They don't deserve jack, and I hope the owners break them.  Their greed has priced the core audience out of the arenas.  If they aren't careful, they are going to become the next NHL, begging for a second-tier cable contract.  
Actually, that is exactly what they deserve anyway.  I hope the owners bring in replacement players who care more about the game than their paychecks and their hangers-on.  Without basketball, most of these chumps would be working at Mickey D's for minimum wage.  Let them remember what it's like to struggle.  It seems like every player suddenly forgets where he came from the minute he cashes his first check.  
Basketball can do without this batch of players a lot easier than this batch of players can do without basketball.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:28 pm

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

I love the "us fans" argument.  What is the NBA--your parents?  They don't owe you anything, you don't owe them anything.  This dispute is internal to employers and employees who make a product you happen to consume.  What I especially hate about the "poor me, the fan" line is it invariably moves to a pro-owner position, since owners have the power and fans don't actually give a crap about the one who actually produces the product they consume (just as we don't actually care about who makes our clothes or mines our coal, just about the goods themselves).  It's a view that the empowered count on as they continue to inflict their unfair sway over those who actually make and do things in this society.

Since: Sep 3, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 9:41 pm

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

Stern do us all a favor and cancel the season. College Basketball is better anyway.....

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 9:38 pm

Hunter 'cool' with Pierce's decert movement

It seems to me that both sides have forgotten who is really responsible for the money these guys are arguing over.   This whole process makes my head hurt.  Please both sides think about the people that really matter and in my humble opinion that is us the fans.  Get a deal done and get to doing what you are supposed to do, entertain your fans.  I hope Billy is cool with that.


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