Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Supreme Court overturns (9-0) the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in American Needle v. National Football League

This case is important to labor relations because a ruling in favor of the league could not only identify a single entity for NFL apparel contracts, but for all business dealings, including labor issues. As Michael McCann points out in his column the decision provides NFLPA with relief going forward into labor talks.

Many collective bargaining provisions are, outside of the CBA, violations of antitrust, but off limits to challenges because of the non-statutory labor exemption. Nonetheless the unions’ leverage remains in the antitrust courts, and a decision for the league in this case could seriously tilt the playing field. Simply compare the recently settled MLS CBA to those of the the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. The MLS enjoys legal single entity status, and the MLS players union was able to negotiate little more than reserve era rights and no level of free agency.