SBD/April 7, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Refs File Claim Against The League With NLRB Citing Failure To Negotiate

The CBA between the NBA referees and the league expires Sept. 1
The National Basketball Referee’s Association “has filed charges to the National Labor Relations Board contending that the NBA has violated federal laws by engaging in unfair labor practices,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski of YAHOO SPORTS. The charges “were outlined in a series of several memos distributed to the NBA’s 60 referees and details what the NBRA describes as ‘the league’s refusal to negotiate with the union concerning non-economic issues.’” The league’s CBA with its referees expires Sept. 1. The NBRA has “hired an experienced labor and employment attorney, Lee Seham, to take over the talks with the NBA.” The union has met “three times with the NBA -- including most recently on March 31 -- and says the NBA hasn’t responded to any of its proposals.” Sources said that the memo and filing to the NLRB also “includes details of an alleged ‘obscene expression’ by commissioner David Stern directed at union negotiators in a Jan. 24 meeting.” The NBRA in the memo claims that the NBA “has told it and the NLRB that it doesn’t want to negotiate deal points on an article-by-article basis, and prefers to be given a complete proposal.” In the memo, union officials “told referees they have requested the NBA give them a proposal for a new deal, but said the league has yet to present its own or a counterproposal.” Wojnarowski noted the NBA and its referees “barely avoided replacement officials to start the 2009-10 season by agreeing to a deal in October 2009,” the month the season started (, 4/6).

EYES ON THE PRIZE: In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote with the CBA between the NBA and players union expiring June 30, the “grim reality is that once the NBA completes its marathon playoff run in June, the lockout will be front and center.” NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said, "I think the owners are waiting to see what happens with the NFL case, just as we are. We've talked about decertifying, like the NFL players have. We might want to go that route, too, but let's see what happens in Minneapolis first" (, 4/6).
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