There have been reports for the past month about the powerful agents of some NBPA members circling the union authority like vultures, wanting to undermine Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher and push for decertification, followed by a barrage of lawsuits against the NBA and its owners. Today NBA.com's David Aldridge reports that a lawyer for the union doesn't believe that the NLRB would allow the union's decertification until after the NBPA's complaint with the National Labor Relations Board is complete. From NBA.com:
"They would block any decertification petition," he said.via Competitive balance? NBA has always been about dynasties | NBA.com.
The decert talk has cooled in recent weeks, but if union members decided they wanted to dissolve the union, they would need 30 percent of their members to sign a petition declaring they want an election to decertify. The NLRB would then hold a hearing to determine if an election was warranted. If it approved, the election would proceed, and a simple majority of union voters voting yes would decertify the union. A tie would also mean decertification, because the union would not have received a majority of votes.
Yet Katz says the unions pending complaint against the NBA would make decertifying an impossibility.
"The vote on decertification is a vote controlled and run by the NLRB," he said. "In my opinion, they could not process the petition for a vote because of the pending petition."
This could explain why the agents have gone quiet recently and why there's been more support for the union. The court process will be used as a weapon by the NBPA, it's their last weapon, the nuclear option. But it won't be on the agent's timeline, it'll be on the NBPA's.
The NLRB's regional ruling has been filed and the national board is in the process of reviewing the complaint. There's no timeline for that decision, but rest assured the NLRB will drag its heels as much as possible to wait for both sides to reach a settlement through negotiation. Avoiding precedent is a pretty big deal in this case and the NLRB will want to dodge the buck as long as possible.
The NBA's suit agains the NBPA seeking to block decertification is set to begin opening proceedings on November 2nd, the day after the regular season was initially intended to begin. But really, what would you rather see, the opener of the NBA season or a court battle?
Don't answer that.