The NHLPA requested that the Commission des Relations du Travail (Quebec Labour Board) issue an interim order to prevent the owners from locking out the Montreal Canadiens players.
In Quebec employers can’t lock out employees that aren’t part of a certified union, and seeing as the NHLPA doesn’t have that kind of recognition in the province, they argued that an NHL lockout would be illegal.
The board ultimately rejected the NHLPA’s request for an interim order, but they also believe a full hearing is required.
“We are pleased but not surprised with the Quebec Labour Board’s ruling tonight that any lockout of Players will be effective on a League-wide basis, including in Quebec, and we are extremely appreciative of the expeditious and decisive manner in which the matter was handled,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement following the board’s decision. “We are hopeful that this ruling will cause the Players’ Association to cease pursuing these needless distractions and instead focus all of its efforts and energies on making progress at the bargaining table.”
The NHLPA also saw Friday’s decision in a positive light.
“We are pleased with the ruling that the Commission released tonight,” said NHLPA general counsel Don Zavelo said in a statement. “While the Commission denied the players’ request for emergency relief, it also rejected the NHL’s request to dismiss the case. The ruling acknowledges that the players have raised issues about the legality of the NHL’s planned lockout that require a full hearing on the merits.
“We remain confident that the lockout is prohibited by the Quebec Labour Code and look forward to presenting our case to the Commission in the near future. Should the NHL carry out its threat to lock out the players in Quebec, it will do so at its own risk.”
It doesn’t sound like this part of the ongoing battle between the union and owner’s is done yet. On top of that, the union is also attempting to stop the looming lockout in Alberta.