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NBA PLAYERS FACE OFF IN NLRB DECERTIFICATION HEARING
Published July 6, 1995
The NLRB will decide in "two to three weeks" whether to allow a vote by members of the NBPA to decertify the union as their collective bargaining representative, according to this morning's WASHINGTON POST. Attorneys for the NBA, the NBPA and a group of dissident players met in New York "to debate who is eligible to vote on decertification and when and how players will cast ballots if an election takes place, but failed to reach an agreement." The NLRB officer who presided over the hearing asked the three sides to submit briefs on July 14, "making it likely" that Daniel Silverman, the NLRB's New York regional director, will announce his decision the following week. Jeffrey Kessler, attorney for the 17 players who petitioned the NLRB for decertification, wants a vote in early August, while the league and union prefer to hold it during training camps in October. If the lockout is still in effect in October, league and union officials would agree to voting at NLRB offices around the country (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6). SIGN HERE: While Kessler submitted 180 signatures in support of the effort, NBA attorney Howard Ganz pointed out that 146 were faxed from agents' offices. Ganz: "This proceeding was commenced under false pretenses. The players who lent their names to decertification forms, we believe that evidence shows that players were sold a bill of goods" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6). Kessler said he hopes to have 200 signatures "real soon" (Thomas Hill, N.Y. POST, 7/6). NEW YORK PRESS: The New York media focused largely on the fact that teammates Patrick Ewing and NBPA VP Charles Smith were on opposite sides of the dispute. Shaun Powell called it "Knick vs. Knick" (NEWSDAY, 7/6). CNN's Mark Morgan: "This is not a run-of-the-mill labor struggle. This pits players against players" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 7/5). COMMENTARY: SI's "Scorecard": "That [Simon] Gourdine's group could have reached an agreement that so many of its constituents find distasteful shows that they were out of touch with the people they were representing, a cardinal sin for union leaders. ... Somebody had better start actively cooperating. The first step toward saving the season is having the players decide what they want and whom they want to get it for them" (SI, 7/10 issue).