NHL Labor Talks Hit Snag, With Union Offer All But Rejected
Talks between the NHL and NHLPA broke off today in Toronto, with Commissioner Gary Bettman all but rejecting the proposal that the union made yesterday. Meetings on economic issues will not resume until next Wednesday in Toronto. “There is still a wide gap between us, with not much time to go,” Bettman said at a news conference this afternoon. “It takes two sides to make a deal, two sides to negotiate and two sides to make it go bad.”
Bettman cited recent CBAs signed in the NBA and NFL as models for what the league seeks. He also said the union’s proposal was incomplete and wondered when he would receive the balance of it. NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr pointed out that the owners never talk about MLB, which has no salary cap, significant revenue sharing and where he oversaw 15 years of labor peace as MLBPA Exec Dir. Fehr said that if there is a wide gulf, it started with the owners’ proposal from four weeks ago for a cut in the players’ share of revenues from 57% to 43%. With the Sept. 15 expiration of the current CBA exactly one month away, Fehr said the players are prepared for the worst-case scenario of a lockout imposed by the owners. “You hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” said Fehr.