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NBA Lockout Takes to the Court(room): League Sues Players Union

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 02, 2011 1:21 PM

Now that the NFL lockout is over, the labor woes of the NBA have now taken center stage. Yes, now the NBA lockout has set off a series of legal actions. For one, the NBA has sued the player's union, the National Basketball Player's Association (NBPA).

Plus the NBA has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board.

In its lawsuit, NBA is seeking a declaration that the NBA lockout is not illegal and does not violate antitrust laws, according to the filed complaint.

The unfair labor charge alleges that the player's union has not bargained in good faith and has instead made unlawful threats of "decertification," reports the Los Angeles Times.

The decertification would mean that the NBPA would no longer be able to collectively bargain (essentially, act as a union) on the player's behalf with the NBA, and players would be able to sue the NBA under federal antitrust laws under a theory of unlawful restraint of trade.

The NBA maintains that the lockout is a right granted to them under the labor exemption of the Clayton Act, according to the filed complaint.

So, how did things get so messy between the NBA and its players? It's all about revenue sharing and losses.

NBA owners have been hit with losses the past year, and have claimed around $300 million in losses in the last season alone, reports the Los Angeles Times. The NBA wants to change the salary cap system for players and want to shift the revenue split. The NBPA says that players could lose up to $8 billion under the NBA owners' proposal, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Will the NBA lockout prevent the new season from playing out? It seems that the dispute is just getting started - the NBA sued the player's union right after their recent (and likely unsuccessful) meeting. It was their first meeting since the NBA lockout commenced on July 1st.

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