Posted by Josh Katzowitz
The NFL filed a 61-page brief today with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to argue why District Court Judge Susan Nelson was wrong to authorize an injunction against the NFL owners’ lockout and why that lockout should be put back into place.
Here are some of the key arguments from the owners’ team:
- Nelson was wrong because she exceeded the restraints of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which bars federal courts from issuing injunctions against certain types of labor disputes. Basically, the owners’ counsel writes that the federal court simply didn’t have the jurisdiction to end the lockout.
-The District Court was wrong to allow the injunction before the National Labor Relations Board had a chance to rule on the issue of whether the NFLPA’s decertification was a violation of its obligation to collectively bargain in good faith.
-The District Court erred by failing to recognize that the “plaintiffs’ antitrust claims are not barred by the nonstatutory labor exemption."
And oh yeah, also the decertification of the NFLPA as a union is a sham writes the owners, because when the NFLPA used the same maneuver in 1987, it was based on the NFPLA’s assertion to the court that its disclaimer “was permanent and irreversible, and not a bargaining tactic.”
They also point to the fact that the NFLPA secured the players’ permission during the 2010 season to decertify if the NFLPA decided that was the correct course to take.
Writes the owners’ team: “Countless statements of NFLPA representatives, both before and after March 11, confirm that its current 'disclaimer,' the result of a conditional authorization, is a tactical ploy. The NFLPA is not permanently abandoning collective bargaining, but instead is attempting temporarily to disclaim its union status in hopes of increasing its members’ bargaining leverage by subjecting the NFL to antitrust suits over terms and conditions of player employment.
"Repeated statements from plaintiffs and other leaders of the NFLPA indicate that the disclaimer was not made in good faith and that it is not unequivocal. For example, the President of the NFLPA stated that “the whole purpose [of disclaimer] is to have that ace in our sleeve. … And at the end of the day, guys understand the strategy, it’s been a part of the union strategy since I’ve been in the league ….”
The players’ response is due May 20.
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