Pierce pushing hard for decertification

Pierce pushing hard for decertification
November 9, 2011, 1:25 am
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While the NBA Players' Association wants to continue to negotiate with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there's still a significant - and apparently growing - number of players who are following Paul Pierce's lead toward exploring decertification.

"We know there are close to 200 players who are apparently in the process of signing these decertification cards," NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter, told NBA-TV on Tuesday. "In my discussions with Paul Pierce, he had indicated that they already have in excess of 100, 130 guys so he represented as signed cards. I don't know if that's true or not."

Hunter said this was not something the union had encouraged Pierce or any other player to pursue.

"This is something that players are doing of their own volition, probably at the insistence of their agents," Hunter said.

Pierce's agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among the handful of agents who have been pushing for the union to pursue decertifying, for weeks.

In order for the union to decertify, at least 30 percent of the players must sign a petition indicating that they no longer want to be represented by the player's association. The petition is then filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the same group that is presiding over the unfair labor practice charges filed by both the NBA and the NBAPA against one another.

Once the NLRB verifies the petition, an election is then scheduled. If a majority of players then vote for decertification, the union no longer exists.

Here's where the process gets a bit complicated for the NBAPA.

It's highly unlikely the NLRB would even allow a vote on decertification until the pending complaints filed by both sides is resolved.

But even if the union gets a relatively quick response to that, an election on decertification wouldn't occur until January, which could potentially be too late to save the season.

However, the threat of decertification may be just what the NBAPA needs to gain some traction in negotiations.

Decertification opens the NBA up to potential anti-trust lawsuits which may include but not be limited to, treble damages, which would allow a court to triple the amount of damages awarded to a plaintiff.

SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann breaks down the decertification process, and how challenging a road it would be for the union if they decided to take that course of action.

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