NFL teams have been voting to authorize the Players Association to decertify as a union as a means of preventing the owners from locking them out if a new labor agreement can not be reached before next season. According to Rick Maese, the Redskins are one of a handful of teams that have already voted unanimously in favor such a move.
At the same meeting that Redskins players chose defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday as the team's new union representative, Washington players also unanimously voted to authorize the NFL Players Association to decertify as a union, according to Carl Francis, a union spokesman.
More on what it means to decertify a union, and how it might help the players in a labor negotiation, after the jump.
If the Players Association decided to decertify, it would then be considered a trade association instead of a union. The Players Association would then be able to sue the owners over the right to compete if the owners tried to lock them out next season.
I'm not really into the business side of sports, so a lot of the issues being raised in these negotiations goes right over my head. Luckily, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal is here to clarify.
If the NFLPA were to decertify, it would, in effect, operate as a trade organization but cease to be a union. If the league then tried to lock out players, the NFLPA could sue the NFL under U.S. antitrust laws and contend the league was conducting a group boycott, which is illegal. It could not sue the NFL if it remained a union with collective-bargaining authority for its members, under the labor exemption to antitrust laws.
The good news here is that it appears as though the Players Association is doing everything at their disposal to ensure that there will be professional football played next year. The bad news is that if they feel they need to take such severe actions, it means that they think a lockout is a very real possibility.