National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher knows a thing or two about work stoppages, having led his union through choppy lockout waters a year ago.
As such, he’s got some advice for the NHLPA as the NHL lockout drags on:
“The one thing I would offer is, the quickest way to resolution and getting something done is to stay together,” the Mavericks guard told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “You don’t get anything done by becoming individuals and starting to separate. It doesn’t mean it has to take longer.
“But the most efficient way … is to really stay together, try to make sure you have one voice and one general focus in terms of how you’re trying to get things accomplished as a group.”
The 2011 NBA lockout went from Jul. 1-Dec. 8 and shared many similarities with the NHL work stoppage, including the most recent hurdle for hockey negotiations — contract length. (The NBA eventually settled on a five year max.)
What NHL fans are hoping won’t be similar, though, is the dissolving of the players’ union. On Nov. 14 of last year, the NBPA dissolved into a trade association and subsequently filed antitrust lawsuits against the NBA in California and Minnesota federal courts.
The NHL has warned against similar action from the NHLPA, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying that decertification would “likely lead to the end of the season.”
Fisher said that all aspects of reaching a new labor agreement is tough, but that solidarity and trust will see things through.
“It is tough, it is challenging,” Fisher said. “But at the end of the day, for the most part the people in the power positions from a players perspective, are trying to do the right things, trying to do right by what they were elected to do, and that’s to get the best deal they can get.
“If guys can trust that, most of the time things are OK.”