The NFL promises to request a stay of execution of the injunction (Uuh, too many syllables) from Judge Nelson and to appeal the decision to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In her finding that the lockout causes irreparable harm, Judge Nelson took account of the harm to broadcasters, concession sales and fan interest (Yay). "In short, this particular employment dispute is far from a purely private argument over compensation."
You can read the boring details in Maury Brown's story on bizoffootball.com and on Albert Breer's post on NFL.com.
Team owners sought to renegotiate the 2006 CBA Extension by levering the players through a lockout. Now the entire contract is at risk. Judge Nelson ruled, in effect, that the CBA no longer exists because the player's union no longer exists. As it now stands, it is illegal for teams to collaborate on player salaries or on an orderly dispersal of talent among teams.
If we've learned anything about owners, it is that they need protection from themselves. Left to their own devices, owners will bid up salaries even for mediocre talent. Without the discipline of the CBA, no ethical standards exist for agent conduct. Eventually, pro football's best talent will migrate east to its wealthiest teams. That may be Dan Snyder's dream, but a league whose talent is over-weighted to the east becomes a regional entity. National fan interest will degrade.at some point.
The owners counted on restructuring the deal as part of a labor negotiation. They still hope to do so. By invoking the lockout provisions that once seem prescient to include in the CBA, they pushed themselves towards the court-ordered settlement they hoped to avoid.
The owners pin their hopes on the National Labor Relations Board to force the players to reform the union to renegotiate without the auspices of a court. I suspect the NLRB will take account of Judge Nelson's findings in their own deliberations.
Not to mention the ROFLMAO aspect of billionaire conservative owners turning to the government for the protection of labor law.
And they thought Judge Doty was tough
Part of the owner's strategy was to get out from under Judge David Doty's thumb from the 1993 settlement that opened the door to the modern free agency. Now the owners are confronted with two judges in their affairs. Judge Doty ruled that the new broadcasting contracts violated the existing CBA. The owners are in jeopardy of punitive damages and worse, 60 percent of any revenue is owed to the players.
Maybe Judge Doty is looking better now.
In hindsight, the owners should have fought this out in 2006 when the CBA expired rather then extending a deal they found unpalatable from the get. Now they place their hopes on a risky appeal and, ironically, on a reconstituted labor union that will be less prone to negotiate than they were last February.
If this were a football game, the owners would be down 14-zip at half time and trailing in the court of law and court of public opinion.
Time to punt.
Points after: Most Hog Heaven readers are age 45 and younger. Bet they never even heard of the National Labor Relations Board, much less know what they do. Back in the day of big auto, big steel, big industry, it took big labor to shield individual workers from the abusive practices of big employers. The Board was formed under the National Labor Relations Act, a Depression-era law that protected workers' rights to form a union to collectively bargain salary and working conditions. Workers' living standard improved with unions in and outside of pro sports.
The law made it illegal for employers to hinder formation of unions, but it also defined unfair practices by unions. Bad faith bargaining is one such provision. That's why the owners turned to the NLRB when the union decertified. It's essential to the owners that they strike a bargain with a union instead of settle a court case. Bargaining agreements come with annoying unions. Court settlements come with immovable judges.
The right to form a union rests soley with workers. it's logical (to me) to assume that workers have a similar right not to bargain through a union.
The owners collective bargaining struggles with employees mirror the national debate about collective bargaining rights, especially in the public sector. Hey, football is life in microcosm. Employers want some givebacks from employees who are not convinced that it is needed. Collective bargaining rights get in the way of the employers' aims.
The blowback on the owners is an object lesson that blowing up unions can blow up in your face. Life in microcosm again.