04.25.2011 1

Can the government compel the NFL to stay open for business?

The decision by the Minneapolis federal judge that lifts the NFL’s lock out of the players raises a question far more significant than whether football is played or not.  The question is whether the government can compel an employer to continue to honor an expired contract with a group of employees?  If the government can effectively force an expired deal to be honored, what incentive do the employees have to negotiate in good faith?  If the government can force an expired deal to be honored by an employer who has contract employees under a master labor agreement, can the employer then refuse to offer contracts to potential employees who are not under contract, or would that be collusion?

Essentially, if the NFL owners do not believe that it is in the interest of their business to go forward under the expired contract, what is the compelling national interest that the federal courts would compel them to operate their businesses anyway?

Just wondering?

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