Players' vote gives union option of dissolving
(Reuters) - Locked-out National Hockey League players voted to give their union the power to file a disclaimer of interest, putting them one step closer to filing class-action anti-trust lawsuits against the league.
The vote passed overwhelmingly, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday, and gives the executive board of the NHL Players' Association the option of dissolving the union. The board has until January 2 to make a decision.
The players' union declined comment.
Dissolving the union would free players, who are locked in a bitter labor dispute with NHL owners over how to share $3.3 billion in revenue, to file anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL in the courts and have the lockout deemed illegal.
In a pre-emptive strike, the NHL filed a class-action complaint and unfair labor practice charge against the players' union last week.
The moves come with negotiations between the two sides at a standstill and time running out before the league is forced to cancel the entire season.
"I'm not an expert on collective bargaining but there is not going to be a deal done until we're sitting across the table from each other," Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said this week.
The players have been locked out since mid-September as negotiations between the two sides have failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.
More than 600 regular-season games, 50 percent of a normal season, have been canceled, leading to speculation that the entire season could be called off if an agreement is not reached by mid-January. Continued...