NBA Players Union File to Block Potential Lockout

May 25, 2011

The National Basketball Association (NBA) players’ union have followed their National Football League (NFL) counterparts lead by filing a complaint of ‘unfair labour practices’ against the NBA on Tuesday, May 24, in an effort to prevent a possible lockout when the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires on June 30.

The union has accused the owners of negotiating in bad faith and have filed the complaint with the National Labour Relations Board, alleging that the NBA is “making harsh, inflexible, and grossly regressive ‘takeaway’ demands that the NBA knows are not acceptable to the Union”.

The complaint also claims the NBA is adopting a “classic ‘take it or leave it’ and surface bargaining” stance with the intent of letting the current labour deal expire. The union’s move has come less than a month after the NBA tabled its latest formal proposal.

The NBA issued a statement in response to the complaint, which read: “There is no merit to the charge filed today by the Players Association with the National Labour Relations Board, as we have complied – and will continue to comply – with all of our obligations under the federal labour laws. It will not distract us from our efforts to negotiate in good faith a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association.”

The NBA has not had a lockout since the 1998-99 season, when the campaign was reduced to just 50 games. NBA commissioner David Stern has predicted a US$300m loss in the current season, and owners have called for a significantly bigger portion of league revenues in the new collective bargaining agreement.