Just got done reading the full 54 page appellate court decision (and Kermit Bye's dissent) on the appeal of judge Susan Richard Nelson's decision to enjoin a labor dispute and lift a lockout even thought this was expressly forbidden by current federal labor law. What's more, they gave instructions for her to follow if this case is to continue.
Suffice it to say that the majority found that the players assertion that the lockout was illegal and was not covered by the Norris Laguardia Act was wrong on all counts. Here's some of the language from the decision.
The text of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the cases interpreting the term "labor
dispute" do not require the present existence of a union to establish a labor dispute.
Whatever the precise limits of the phrase "involving or growing out of a labor
dispute," this case does not press the outer boundary. The League and the players’
union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement for almost eighteen years prior
to March 2011. They were engaged in collective bargaining over terms and
conditions of employment for approximately two years through March 11, 2011. At
that point, the parties were involved in a classic "labor dispute" by the Players’ own
definition. Then, on a single day, just hours before the CBA’s expiration, the union
discontinued collective bargaining and disclaimed its status, and the Players filed this
action seeking relief concerning industry-wide terms and conditions of employment.
In other words, "Players can't just decide to decertify their union in the 11th hour of an ongoing labor dispute and expect the court system to take a no harm, no foul attitude". It put the lid on it with the next tidbit.
Whatever the effect of the union’s disclaimer on the League’s immunity from antitrust
liability, the labor dispute did not suddenly disappear just because the Players elected
to pursue the dispute through antitrust litigation rather than collective bargaining.
As Archie Bunker would say, "Ipso-fatso, you can't do that". Don't you love it when a plan comes together?
As for the players contention that the NLGA did not apply to the employer in a labor dispute, all the majority had to say was, "Wrong again".
With due respect to these courts, we think it better to begin the analysis with the
text of § 4(a). The introductory clause of § 4 forbids a court to issue an injunction to
prohibit "any person or persons participating or interested" in a labor dispute from
doing any of the acts set forth below, including those in § 4(a). Employers, of course,
are among the persons participating in a labor dispute. The introductory clause thus
plainly encompasses employers. If language in a particular subsection is applicable
on its face to employees and employers alike (or to employers alone), then there is no
need for a specific mention of employers. An employer against whom injunctive
relief is sought may invoke the protection of a subsection as a "person . . .
participating or interested" in the labor dispute.
Silly Rabbit, employers are people too. There is alot more in a 54 page decision, but I think the majority summed it up nicely by including the words of the 1915 Report of the Committee on Industrial Relations that was cited by Justice Brandeis in the Duplex Printing labor dispute of 1932, towit:
[T]here are apparently, only two lines of action possible: First to restrict
the rights and powers of employers to correspond in substance to the
powers and rights now allowed to trade unions, and second, to remove
all restriction which now prevent the freedom of action of both parties
to industrial disputes, retaining only the ordinary civil and criminal
restraints for the preservation of life, property and the public peace. The
first method has been tried and failed absolutely. * * * The only method
therefore seems to be the removal of all restrictions upon both parties,
thus legalizing the strike, the lockout, the boycott, the blacklist, the
bringing in of strike-breakers, and peaceful picketing.
Or, you could just say to the players, "Why are you wasting this courts time with petty legal moves instead of negotiating with the league so that football can be played as normal in 2011?".
It's time for this buffoonery to STOP. Get a deal done and get it done now. If we have to tell you again, you may get sent to your room without any dinner. Get me? GOOD!
It's STILL all we got.