Players to vote on whether board can dissolve union

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:10pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Locked out National Hockey League (NHL) players will begin voting on Sunday on whether to give the players association's executive board authority to file a "disclaimer of interest" and dissolve their union.

Voting will be done electronically and continue through Thursday, a source familiar with the proceedings told Reuters on Saturday.

A two-thirds majority will be needed to give the 30-member executive board the power to file a "disclaimer of interest" that would disband the union and free players to file anti-trust suits with the courts.

The NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) has not yet said it plans to file the disclaimer but could go that route if negotiations remained stalled.

The league moved to prevent the NHLPA from decertifying on Friday, filing a class action complaint against the players' union.

The NHL asked U.S. courts to confirm the legality of the lockout and simultaneously filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) players pursued similar courses in 2011 labor disputes with their leagues before new collective bargaining agreements were eventually reached.

The legal maneuvering follows two unsuccessful days of bargaining with U.S. federal mediators trying to jump start stalled talks on a new collective bargaining agreement.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said he cannot see the league, which normally runs an 82-game regular season, playing less than a 48-game campaign. But with games through December, 42.8 percent of the schedule, already canceled, time is quickly running out for salvaging even a partial season.   Continued...