The thought repeatedly is discussed that the unions dissolution is merely a sham to gain legal leverage. What if it isn't? What do the players need to do to prove that it's not?
The players may gain legal leverage by dissolving the union and forming a new trade association, but at some point playing under free market conditions would appear a better deal than collectively bargaining. When the owners offer drops beneath that point dissolution of the union isn't a sham, but reflects what is best for the players even if a CBA is not ultimately reached.
Did the NBA's offer drop that far? I would suggest that it did. Without artificial constraints that can only be applied due to the CBA, the players would almost certainly make considerably more money than 50%. Prior to the salary cap rules in the NHL, the players were making around 70% of the revenue.
In MLB, the players are making around 55% of revenue [according to what calculations I can do with Forbes data].
In general, a free market is likely to pay them more than the 50/50 split the NBA is offering and almost certainly considerably more than the 47% reset proposal the NBA would theoretically offer the players if they could still bargain collectively now.
The union does take on a large socialistic role amongst the players spreading out the NBA's wealth moreso than it would be spread out otherwise by limiting max salaries, instituting minimums, and putting in a retirement plan that really only has meaning to the lower salaried players. In that sense, it behooves the players [as a group] to bargain collectively.
However, that benefit for the players is likely coming at a 2-300 million a year cost and may simply not be carry forth that much value. The players have dissolved the union, and the assumption is that they need a union.
They don't need one nearly as much as the NBA needs them to have one. The players would assuredly love the NBA to open its doors right now and let them play without a union on individually negotiated contracts without any of the anti-monopolistic rules attached. The NBA will refuse to do that.
This makes for all the more interesting legal battle. The NBA will call the dissolution of the union a sham, but the fact that they'd even argue the point shows the union does not benefit the players.
A labor union should protect labor, but the owners are fighting to keep one because the labor union effectively protects them. No one seems to mention that, but isn't there something inherently wrong with the labor union creating more benefit for the owners than for labor? It has always stricken me as a giant elephant in the room.
At the point where the owners of a league want to fight to say the players aren't really dissolving the union because they extract more benefit from its existence than the players should be all the evidence you need that the other side really does want to dissolve the union because it's hurting them.
Filed under: Collective Bargaining Agreement