Blog Entry

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

Posted on: May 21, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2011 3:50 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

The NFLPA filed their brief in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals case just before midnight Friday, and led with a strong statement: "The NFL is a cartel."

But for as many zingers and strong language that exists in the brief, the argument that the panel of judges in St. Louis are really considering is this: "Are the players still a union?"

In their brief, the players argue that the NFL has not actually proven that the nonunionized players are arguing their case in the wrong place.

"The NFL does not cite any case that has ever held that disputes between employers and individualized nonunionized employees fall under the [Norris LaGuardia Act]," the players' attorneys wrote.

See, the Norris LaGuardia Act (NLGA) basically says that if there's a dispute between a employer and a group of employees in a union, that such a dispute needs to be resolved by the NLRB, and not by the court system.

So this -- "Are the players still a union?" -- is the dispute, legally speaking, that will decide whether or not we continue to have a lockout. If the Appeals Court believes/rules that the NFLPA truly disbanded, they'll lift the lockout. If they don't believe that, they'll leave the lockout in place, because, in their eyes, no court has jurisdiction over such a labor-related matter.

Here's the biggest problem, for those hoping the lockout will end: if the Appeals Court rules that the NFLPA broke up in good faith and is truly no longer a union (versus simply disbanding for legal leverage), they will establish a nightmarish precedent for themselves.
NFL Labor

Here's an example that may or may not simply be for the purpose of referencing The Wire, which is all the rage these days: If the Baltimore Union of the International Brotherhood of Stevedores decides it's being treated unfairly and wants to pursue litigation against its employer, Hypothetical Widget Shipping, Inc., it cannot dissolve the union, file a lawsuit and re-unionize later. At least not right now.

But it could -- potentially anyway -- do such a thing should the Appeals Court rule in favor of the players. (Edit: There is a difference between the status of sports leagues and other places of employ re: anti-trust status. But the point remains that the court would open itself up to a different interpretation of the law. Also, a better example could be: the NBA.)

This is problematic for the courts because it completely flips the jurisdiction of all labor disputes, if a union is willing to disband.

Remember, the Court of Appeals is pro-business; they're not "pro Roger Goodell." They don't care about this case in the sense of "How can we keep the players from winning?" They care about this case in the sense of "How does this effect future legal proceedings?"

Which is why it seems quite unlikely that the 8th Circuit will favor the players, regardless of how strong their arguments are.

Are there more issues? Yes. Are some of them stupidly complex? Absolutely.

But if you're going to boil the legal battle of the lockout down to one singular thing, it's whether or not a group of judges want to believe that the NFLPA has deunionized. Because of what they'd be setting themselves up for in the future, it's highly unlikely they'll rule that way.

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Since: May 9, 2011
Posted on: May 21, 2011 10:22 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

A Cartel?  Really?  Now I can certainly see some similarities and I can see how some people may be able to make comparisons....but if you look closely.....aren't the players trying to do the same thing?  The a nut shell....of a cartel is to maximize profits and engage in price fixing.  The players are saying the owners are engaging in this?  What about the players?  Are they not "DEMANDING" certain wages?  Is this so different than the owners trying to cap salaries.....especially of the overpaid 1st round draft picks that end up costing owners/franchises millions of dollars when they don't reach their potential? 

I found the simplicity of this article quite interesting.  Is the NFLPA still a union?  I say YES.  Do you believe that all these players are deciding it is in their best interest to go at this thing alone?  NO.  They are doing it in a group effort.  That is the original purpose behind the have a stronger say in how things should be done.  Now they are telling us that they have all decided to call it quits?  It is another legal manuever that will continue to cloud the number one issue.....revenue sharing.  I can't believe that a special teamer making a few hundred thousand sat back and scratched his head and said to himself....."Gee....I don't really think I need a union working on my behalf anyway!"

With all that said....I hope they can come to terms and get this thing figured out. 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 21, 2011 9:30 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

If I were the owners, I would eat the $1 billion dollar request and negotiate out the ability of the players to to take this crap to the federal courts in the nexy CBA.  Then again they could just wait the players out and break the union totally. 

Oh well, at least the Red Sox are improving.  That should tide me over till Hockey Season if the NFL doesn't play ball. 

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: May 21, 2011 6:31 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

The players might have a better argument if it was their individual lawyers filing briefs instead of the NFLPA lawyers.  And if the head of the NFLPA (which doesn't represent the players any more, right?) wasn't at every press conference.

Since: Oct 24, 2010
Posted on: May 21, 2011 5:56 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

The NFL MIGHT save itself if this is resolved and at least some type of training camp is going on by September. Otherwise, fans are going to start leaving and never coming back.

I think the players "union" is still acting as a union and never quit. The courts may rule through some legality that says it isn't so, but it damn sure appears that way. I hope the court sees that for the farce that it is.

Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 5:28 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

Its getting easier by the day for me to not really give a rats behind what's going on.

Interestingly enough, usually, in business, when you start losing your paying customers, you tend to do whatever it takes to turn business around.

Too bad all those involved are too far removed from reality to understand they are quickly, and I do mean QUICKLY alienating those that have so generously paid them. We even overlook their misbehavior, illegal behavior, and completely and totally over-the-top behavior and still pay them like kings.

Wonder how they will feel when they are all being paid like employees at burger King. 

Lets face it, neither of the 3 sides is going to win in this...not the owners, not the players, and certainly not us fans....time to find something else to spend my time and money on! 

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 4:11 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

None, and I repeat, none of you know what is going on.

Wrong looseleaf.

Some are ignorant (jack_sprat) and fueling the flame of ignorance.
But some people pay attention.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 4:09 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

Will, it seems to me that you're ignoring the precedent set by the findings in the case pursuant to the 1987 NFL strike. Given the politicized nature of the 8th Circuit, it's certainly possible that they will also do so, of course. However, that would result in conflicting Appeals Court rulings. Given the national significance and potential for immediate harm, I don't find it far-fetched to imagine that the Supreme Court would order an expedited hearing, nor that it would deliver an expedited verdict. The underlying issue here is freedom of association, which is anything but trivial or localized.

No jack_sprat, the master of spewing internet ignorance where ever he goes like so much cow dung. As usual you are wrong. Since they remained a Union they could strike, and this is a different situation where they illegally disbanded. You simply do not understand what you are talking about, and regurgitating falsehoods copied and pasted from your Socialist club site.

As for your contention that a ruling here would have effect beyond sports unions, it's exceedingly dubious.

No, you are just a moron. Being a moron because you get off on saying dumb things on the internet while trying to sound like something you are clearly not.

Other industries do not operate as syndicalist monopolies, nor depend for their outsized revenues thereupon.

And the NFL is not owned by the players, so the NFL is in no way, shape or form syndicalist, nor is the NFL a monopoly as other professional football leagues operate in the U.S. and Canada they can play for.

1. a form or development of trade unionism, originating in France, that aims at the possession of the means of production and distribution, and ultimately at the control of society, by federated bodies of industrial workers, and that seeks to realize its purposes through general strikes, terrorism, sabotage, etc. 2. an economic system in which workers own and manage industry.

Man you are dense.

Thus, there is no corresponding vulnerability on the part of these non-sport companies that the Unions might hope to exploit by decertifying. (The NFL's revenues and business model absolutely rely on the suspension of the antitrust laws. What so inflames many of the owners is the fact that this NECESSARILY makes the players, through their Union, true partners in their joint and several endeavors. See, these rich guys like to IMAGINE that they are bold entrepreneurs, rampant and naked CAPITALISTS. Anything but, of course. Sans their reprieve from the laws of these United States which govern their lesser brethren, they would be immeasurably less wealthy, as would the players. Being the arrogant folks that they are, these mighty poobahs cannot tolerate the notion that they are somehow, anyhow, on a par with their employees. It's not just a "greed" thing, but an EGO thing, which some of them--at least eight of them--cannot get past. Too bad, I say. Let them learn to deal.)

Other than the fact that the entire statement above is false, it did appear at a point there you stopped copying and pasting.

The players are not partners, never have been partners and never will be partners. They are not the product, they are the labor.
This is well established, and the socialist whining you spew does not change it.

You simply do not know what you are talking in your pretend time on the internet. so much cow dung.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: May 21, 2011 3:58 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

None, and I repeat, none of you know what is going on.  I don't even care anymore and frankly I'm sick of hearing about it.  I'd rather hear about Brett Favre returning for his 40th season than read another lockout article.  Let's all just except that it's not a game for our enjoyment, it's a business of million and billionares who could care less about what we think and more about how to sell us 49er key chains for 18 bucks.  Love of the game?  Ha!

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 21, 2011 3:27 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

It seems that you fail to understand one thing here.  Most unions do not have an argument for anti-trust violations like the NFL players due.  The NFL restrains the trade on NFL player talent through the draft, restricted free angency and salary cap.  The fictional widget company does not do these things.  Stevedores can move to a different company or to a different toan and find comparable employment.  The option the players have taken is not one that most unions will have available to them.  Stevedores are a lot easier to replace than NFL players. 

Complete nonsense. NFL Player can play for any one of the other Professional Football league, and there are several. Players can be replaced each and every year, because they in fact are replaced each and every year.

I am sure someone will argue that replacement players will do a comparable job.  But think about the way that the NFL promotes its games.  It is ALL about personalities.  Manning vs Brady, Ray Lewis vs Rothesberger ... The known players are huge marketing tools for the NFL.  Even the images of ex-players are used to promote teams.  The Mighty widget company does not say "buy your widgets from us, we have Joe Blow, the greatest stevedore ever".

And before them where Dan Marino and Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor and Walter Payton.

They were better of any you mention, and yet the game went on...

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 21, 2011 3:26 pm

Appeal ruling boils down to recognition of union

@WRODAWAIT Yeah, sorry, thought that was inherently indicated in the post because of the nature of the lawsuit, but fair point.

Also, it still DRASTICALLY alters the way that business would get done -- remember that the NLGA wasn't exactly born out of a lawsuit involving a professional sports league.

Also, "we have Joe Blow, the greatest stevedore ever" is my new favorite sentence. 

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