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For those of you who follow the labor movement, but who aren't hockey fans, or have a hard time caring about the collective bargaining fate of 1%ers and just how much richer they'll get from us: you should care.

I've been a labor/employment lawyer my entire career and an intense hockey fan my entire life. In the last lockout, I thought the players were the ones who needed to be a little bit more realistic because the league had suffered from a spate of bankruptcies, one team had in fact opened up its books (the LA Kings) and the owners were losing money. Now, there's no doubt: the owners were losing money mainly due to their own bad decisions.

But going forward, there had to be either a salary cap (less money, same amount of jobs) or a contraction (same amount of money, less jobs). The salary cap was keyed to league revenues and it didn't take long for the top earners to get back in the range they were pre-lockout. Despite this, it is quite clear that many in the NHLPA leadership only acquiesced to that deal in the first place because they planned to have it out next time around.

This time is entirely different. No one disputes that the NHL is making more money than ever. The NHL simply wants the players to get less of an expanding pie.  It almost seems as if they're mad that their "win" in 2005 wasn't as real as they thought at the time.

Why this should pique the interest of labor folks is that almost none of the owners do hockey for their day job. Most of them are titans of industry, and are playing these negotiations exactly how they would be expected to deal with labor in those other industries.

What's most telling to me is, as I mentioned, the fact that the NHL isn't asking the NHLPA to take a hit just to save the sport. No, they're just asking the NHLPA to take a hit because fuck them is why. Actually, what appears to be their latest move is an attempt to split the union apart and neutralize it.

And the sports press—who make the political Villagers look like incisive geniuses—are trying to maintain their "bro" status by still sniffing the jocks of individual players, are, for the most part extremely biased towards either a "both sides" narrative or are pro-NHL, even if they take a shot at Gary Bettman here and there.

And the most virulent anti-NHLPA talk seems to be coming from the Canadian press and the Canadian fans who, perhaps due to their earnestness, seem to think that it's madness that everyone won't compromise (sorta their version of bipartisan).

A compromise, of course, assumes that meeting in the middle of current offers means an equal level of concession of equal reasonableness to both sides.

The lesson I take from this is, ironically, as long as you can, don't make offers, Boehner style. Or if you do, only make them to appear like you're moving but containing some poison pill you know the other side can accept.


Because any good faith offer will be diluted again and again by the other side and by the external pressure calling for "compromise."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:49:25 AM PST

  •  Sentiment about unions (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, RichM, Mannie, Hastur, Dobber, Timothy J, ER Doc

    is a lot like the issue of lawsuits and how the old lady with the coffee at McDonalds turned the tide in the favor of corporations.  BTW, if you haven't seen Hot Coffee, I suggest you do.  It's a telling documentary on how messaging can completely change peoples views, and get them to turn on their own best interest through message reinforcement.

    It's like a friend of mine who was always an advocate for wildlife management, clean water, etc.  He's so pro-Scott Walker, that he has actually convinced himself that deregulation of our mining and other industries would be okay.  Amazing how some fall so easily for the marketing scam that is the Republican Party.

    •  I saw Hot Coffee (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Hastur, Dobber, ER Doc

      and found it quite frightening.  What is happening to our legal system is scarey.  If we lose the ability to sue those who cause us damages, then we will really be screwed.  Of course the corporations would love it!

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:30:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The NHL must die so that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J, ER Doc

    hockey must live. Here's one Canadian (born) hockey fan who isn't on the league's side.

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:51:25 AM PST

  •  Meh, the players should de-certify (or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur, Timothy J

    whatever they need to do) and start their own league.

    Maybe Celine Dion can provide a pot of seed money to get that underway.

  •  I am a hockey fan and I do care (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur, Dobber, Timothy J, ER Doc

    And you are right. It IS about the bigger picture. The 1% is absolutely out to fuck over the rest of us for an even bigger piece of the pie when they already have 100s to 1000s of times more than they can spend in a lifetime. It is a sickness.  It WILL destroy our society and it IS about messaging and they control the messangers. We can only fight back with the internet and by staying together as a community which gives a shit about each other and the bigger picture. Sites like DK and every one of us that volunteers and donates are the lifeblood of preserving this once great democracy. Leaders like Lincoln and FDR and MLK need to come along. Not sure about Obama but he is all we have so lets try ot influence him and some of the really good congresspeople who are few and far between.

    I am pro-life. Bring our troops home ALIVE!

    by Doc Allen on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:08:21 AM PST

  •  Completely Agree (0+ / 0-)

    The problem with the NHL is that even if the NHL owners received everything they wanted, their business model would still be flawed. Gary Bettman talked them into expanding the league into the Sun Belt, and now that those teams are hemorrhaging money, the owners want the players to pay the penalty for the bad business plan.

    The owners position is stated like this: "Back in 2005, we took back 24% of the money guaranteed in your contracts and that didn't balance the books, so you need to give us more money back".

    "The game's easy, Harry" - Richie Ashburn

    by jpspencer on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 02:44:53 PM PST

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