When the NFL and NBA went through their lockouts last year, one word that came up often with each league’s players’ association was “decertification.” Decertifying the union means disbanding and drastically changing the outlook of negotiations.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, members of the NHLPA did inquire about doing the same at a recent union conference call but had the notion explained and turned down. From Brooks:
The players were told opting for decertification would not merely represent a legal technicality, it would in fact mean the players would no longer be negotiating as a unified group; indeed, decertification would mean the union would be disbanded.
There was little appetite to adopt that route, though talk of decertification — which presumably would be followed by filing of antitrust action in the U.S and filings in Canada, where labor laws differ throughout the provinces — will inevitably become louder and a more acceptable option for the players if the league continues to stonewall through next month.
The NFL and NBA were able to get through their tough talks and save their seasons after the players’ unions decertified. In both sports’ situations, decertification helped spur talks along.
All things considered, it’s for the best the NHLPA isn’t going this route as that would likely throw another wrench into what’s been messy negotiations.