Elliott, H. (2013, January 6). NHL, players reach tentative deal on new collective bargaining agreement. LA Times [Los Angeles], pp. 1-3.
Collective bargaining can occur in a variety of fields, from sports, to politics. It enables settlement of disputes that can benefit both parties as well as produce a result that isn’t too one-sided. Collective bargaining is “the negotiation of wages and other conditions of employment by an organized body of employees” (Beal, Wickersham, & Kienast, 1972, p. 5). In an article by LA Times, collective bargaining arises in contract disputes of the NHL.
The collective bargaining dispute stems from the NHL players Association and their laor dispute with the NHL. “Kings fans had waited 45 years for their beloved team to win the Stanley Cup last June, so it seemed cruel that a labor dispute between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Assn. delayed their chance to see the Kings raise their championship banner at Staples Center. “(Elliott, 2013, p.1). The players wish to be paid more for their work in the NHL while the NHL want to keep a salary cap on players salaries below the suggested limit by the NHL players Association. Consequences of such a labor dispute keep players from performing and delays future games. Fans require consistent player performance in order to keep paying to go see their favorite teams while the NHL does not want to overpay for the sport.
Players wanting more realize that the NHL as a whole make a lot of money from ticket sales. They want a bigger cut of the revenue realizing they are the reason for the ticket sales. They know they have some leverage in regards to contract disputes because if they stop playing, customers will stop buying. At the same time the NHL already pays the players quite well and some will not risk losing their positions within the league in order to argue for higher salaries.
NHL players ultimately feel they cannot perform to the best of their ability and continue generating max profit for the league without they are being paid a little over half of the revenue.
“The NHL locked players out on Sept. 15 after claiming teams could not operate profitably while paying players 57% of hockey-related revenue they received in the final year of the previous labor deal. “(Elliott, 2013, p.2). The NHL feel if the NHL players are paid too much for their performance, they will not have enough money to maintain the facilities, pay the staff that help the players and so forth. The NHL has been known to trade, bench or dismiss players that demand for too high pay. They also followed the route of the NFL and reduced the amount of games total to decrease player revenue: “In trying to reduce players’ share of revenue, the NHL followed the path of the National Football League and National Basketball Assn., which endured labor problems in 2011” (Elliott, 2013, p.2).
Bettman, the person in charge of negotiations for the NHL, tried to undermine previous settled negotiations during the heated dispute and Fehr was believed to keep things stagnant to draw out the dispute longer. “The league believed Fehr was slowing the process in an attempt to wear owners down; the union believed Bettman wanted to take back many contractual rights players earned during previous disputes” (Elliott, 2013, p.2). Only through the pressure of several big-time club executives like Leiweke, Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle and representatives of the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, were negotiations sped up.
Along with the addition of the executives, a federal mediator was introduced. “The work of federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh, who acted as a go-between when the two sides couldn’t face each other, also was crucial to the resolution” (Elliott, 2013, p.3). Ultimately both sides got some satisfaction with the agreements and the dispute was resolved with players getting a seven-year contract instead of 5 and also receiving more pay while the NHL kept the salary cap from getting too high. “The salary cap for the 2013-14 season was set at $64.3 million, well above the NHL’s proposed $60 million but short of the union’s target of $65 million. The floor — minimum each team must spend on payroll — will be $44 million.”(Elliott, 2013, p.3). Things could have been resolved sooner however if player and the league realized how much money they could be making if they just played more games instead of wasting time in a power struggle.
Beal, E.F., Wickersham, E.D., & Kienast, P. (1972). The practice of collective bargaining. Homewood, Ill: R.D. Irwin.
Elliott, H. (2013, January 6). NHL, players reach tentative deal on new collective bargaining agreement. LA Times [Los Angeles], pp. 1-3. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/06/sports/la-sp-nhl-lockout-20130107
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