Players file unfair labor charge against NBA
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA players’ association filed an unfair labor charge against the league Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board, a move it hopes could block a lockout it feels owners want.
The union says the NBA hasn’t bargained in good faith, has made financial demands without offering concessions to the players, and has bypassed the union to deal directly with players.
The charge filed with Region 2 of the NLRB seeks “an injunction against the NBA’s unlawful bargaining practices and its unlawful lockout threat.”
The NBA and players are trying to reach a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement before the June 30 expiration of the current one. They plan to meet early next month during the NBA finals, but remain far apart on major financial issues and a work stoppage remains a possibility.
Though both sides insist they realize the importance of negotiating a deal themselves without it reaching the courts, as the NFL’s labor situation has, the union hopes the charge could give them legal backing if bargaining fails.
The charges against the league include:
-making harsh, inflexible, and grossly regressive “takeaway” demands that the NBA knows are not acceptable to the union and not supported by objective or reasonable factors or balanced by appropriate trade-offs;
-engaging in classic “take it or leave it” and surface bargaining intended to delay action on a renewal CBA until the NBA locks out the represented employees in order to coerce them into accepting the NBA’s harsh and regressive demands;
-failing and refusing to provide relevant financial information properly requested and needed by the union to understand, test, and analyze the NBA’s asserted justification, based on financial weakness, for its grossly regressive contract demands;
-threatening union-represented employees that the NBA will force them to pay for the cost of a lockout through even more draconian takeaways from their CBA;
-making demands and threats that are inherently destructive to the collective bargaining process and to employee rights, and that reflect the NBA’s hostility to that process and those rights and are intended to signal to Union-represented employees that back-and-forth bargaining is futile.
The NBA recently sent a second proposal for a new CBA to the players, who object to the economic changes the league says it needs.
“There is no merit to the charge filed today by the players association with the National Labor Relations Board, as we have complied – and will continue to comply – with all of our obligations under the federal labor laws,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “It will not distract us from our efforts to negotiate in good faith a new collective bargaining agreement with the players association.”
Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://twitter.com/briancmahoney.