07.22.2011 0

NFL Owners Lift Lockout

By Adam Bitely – The work stoppage in the NFL that many feared would lead to the cancelation of the 2011-2012 football season appears to be nearing an end as owners lift the lockout—without a single game being missed.

By the beginning of next week, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and NFL might reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which would ensure players health care for life, enhanced injury protection benefits, and provide annual increases in the minimum salaries of players.

To say the least, this deal is a sweet one for the players.

The only thing preventing the deal from being struck is that both sides have yet to ratify it. The NFLPA must hold a vote a majority agreeing followed by a ‘yea’ vote of 24 of the 32 owners of NFL teams before the CBA is implemented and the lockout is deemed over.

But one thing is odd in this whole case—the role of the NFLPA.

On the day that the lockout began, the players of the NFL, who chose to be represented by the NFLPA, voted to decertify the union. The reason for decertification was so that players could take the NFL to court in an anti-trust lawsuit. With the players represented by a union, such cases cannot come to court.

But if the NFLPA is a decertified union, what standing do they have as a bargaining entity?

Currently, the NFLPA is classified as a trade organization and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. It’s Director, DeMaurice Smith, and President, Kevin Mawae, have been the mouth piece for the players to the team owners throughout the entire lockout.

Further, the NFLPA claims to have had no role in advising decertification so that the players could sue the owners in a court of law.

If the NFLPA can just decertify and still act as the sole bargaining agent of the players, what’s the point of the union having to certify and decertify at all? They appear to be able to do whatever they please; however they please.

Even though the lockout will most likely wrap up this week, this is a lesson on how out of control Big Labor is in our nation. Big Labor routinely alleges unfair labor practices from company owners, but is allowed to skirt the law, unchecked, however it pleases.

While this labor dust up between billionaires and millionaires will likely end, the enduring legacy of the employees being able to use the legal status of their bargaining agent as a legal negotiating chip may have enduring consequences, only time will tell.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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