Why would a union favor its own decertification?

The better to sue, it seems [Marcia McCormick/Workplace Prof]:

The NFL Players Association is seeking player approval to decertify in advance of a potential lockout by owners in March when the current collective bargaining agreement expires, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. Decertifying would allow players to sue the owners under antitrust laws if the owners did lock the players out. And any effort to impose a labor agreement on the players could provide the players with treble damages.

This was the tactic the players resorted to in 1989, and it eventually gave them enough leverage to establish free agency in 1993, when the players recertified the association as their exclusive representative.


  • This strikes me as an artifact of the application of the labor laws to a scenario where labor has monopsony power. Avoiding the constraints of collective bargaining law through deunionization to improve the players’ negotiating position seems a legitimate tactic. Auto workers are fungible and depend heavily upon capital investment, but consumers of football games are paying to see players play rather than owners own.

  • Oh Ted, Ted, Ted. People don’t go to the games to watch the players play football. They go to drink beer to excess, eat crappy high priced food and be with friends. Besides, I think the players are being whiny.

  • Per Seinfeld, people root for the uniforms.