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NFLPA* shouldn’t dismiss NLRB charge

Kevin Mawae

Kevin Mawae, former player and president of the NFL Players Association, pauses as he leaves after negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2011 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


During a Monday conference call with the media, NFLPA* president Kevin Mawae said that he has no concerns about the charge the league filed with the National Labor Relations Board regarding the union’s effort to decertify, in the obvious hopes of increasing their leverage in negotiations with the NFL.

“We’re not a union anymore,” Mawae said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “So any case before the NLRB is trumped by our decertification. So it doesn’t matter.”

The NLRB disagrees.

“It doesn’t change what [allegedly] happened,” NLRB spokesman Nancy Cleeland told Bell. “The charge is still being investigated. By [the NFL] amending the charge, obviously, they still think it’s live.”

Cleeland is referring to the league’s recent effort to adjust the initial complaint filed on February 14, at which time the league argued that the union was failing to genuinely bargain in order to launch the decertification-litigation strategy. After the decertification-litigation strategy launched, the league added to its charge the notion that the ruse was aimed at securing leverage, and that it doesn’t constitute a legitimate bargaining tactic.

The filing complicates the legal action pending in Minnesota federal court, and it gives the NFL another possible path toward forcing the union to reconstitute itself and return to the bargaining table.

It’s another reason why the players need to recognize the uncertainty of the litigation process and to attempt to control their destiny by negotiating with the league while these matters are pending.