The players union is proceeding with a disclaim interest request. That means the NHLPA is being asked to cease representing the league's players, which would allow them to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NHL. Players would also surrender the right to bargain as a group and lose union protection.
Voting among the more than 700 players in the league is set to start Sunday and take five days. A two-thirds majority is needed for the disclaimer to take effect.
The league, meanwhile, filed two motions Friday. The first is a class action complaint asking for a declaration from a federal court confirming the lockout is legal. The second is an unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board. That charge alleges the NHLPA is taking part in an illegal runaround of the bargaining process and is not taking part in negotiations in good faith.
The union balked at the league's legal filings in a statement issued Friday:
“The NHLPA has just received a copy of the National Labor Relations Board charge and has not yet been served with the lawsuit. However, based on what we’ve learned so far, the NHL appears to be arguing that Players should be stopped from even considering their right to decide whether or not to be represented by a union. We believe that their position is completely without merit.”
The two sides met for two days of CBA talks last wee but moved no closer to ending the lockout, which is now 91 days old. Games through Dec. 30 have been canceled and a deal is required within the next few weeks to allow for any part of the 2012-13 season to be played.