Decertification talk silenced; Tuesday's meeting big

Decertification talk silenced; Tuesday's meeting big
October 17, 2011, 10:29 pm
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NEW YORK Just a few weeks ago, a number of high-profile NBA agents were pushing hard for players to decertify from the union.

And yet even with little progress having been made recently towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, suddenly those calls for change have eased up.

Now we may know why.

Before the union can decertify, 30 percent of the members would have to sign a petition wanting to decertify.

But according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, the National Labors Relations Board - they would be the one dealing with any decertification vote - might not approve such a vote.

"They would block any decertification petition," said Lawrence Katz, the lawyer in charge of the players union's NLRB case against the NBA.

The reason?

The players union has filed a lawsuit with the NLRB against the NBA, alleging that they're not negotiating in good faith. Until a decision is made on that - or a new CBA gets worked out, whichever comes sooner - Katz told NBA.com that it's highly unlikely the union would pursue decertification right now.

And that means that both sides will continue to work towards a new CBA, a process that hopefully will get a major jump-start on Tuesday.

That is when both sides will come together for the first time since talks broke down earlier this month and NBA commissioner David Stern announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season. Last week, he said if a deal wasn't in place by Tuesday, games on Christmas Day may also be canceled.

Since then, both sides have cranked up the rhetoric, but have very few results to show for it other than upsetting the other side while fans sit on the outside waiting patiently for them to come to terms on a new deal.

Tuesday's meeting will be noticeably different than previous ones due to the presence of a federal mediator.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, is widely considered one of the nation's best attorneys when it comes to labor issues involving professional franchises.

Cohen, who was involved at some point in the NFL lockout talks, said last week that he had "separate, informal, off-the-record discussions" with key members of both the NBA and the players union regarding the status of where they were in terms of working towards a new CBA.

"It is evident," Cohen said, "that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played."