Decertification was a tactic the NFL's players association used in hopes of bringing the NFL's lockout to an end in the summer of 2011. The NBA's players association explored decertifying in the fall of 2011 during that league's lockout. Last week, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller suggested decertification would be the NHL player association's only hope of ending the NHL's lockout.
Decertification, in essence, would dissolve the NHLPA and make it illegal for the NHL to collectively lock out players. It's a legal maneuver not without risks for the players.
Earlier this week, Penguins forward and NHLPA negotiation committee member Craig Adams discussed the possibility of decertifying:
How much is the NHLPA considering decertification?
"We’ve definitely discussed because everybody needs to understand what it means and what the process would be and things like that. There’s a number of guys who have talked about it at length and how it would work. We haven’t started the process. The way I understand it, it doesn’t take a long time if you want to do it."
What is involved in decertification?
"There’s votes. I think you need to petition the (National Labor Relations Board). I understand how it works but I don’t know every step that you have to take. But I don’t believe it’s a complicated process."
How much would you reference the NFLPA decertification as a "guide" if the NHLPA would decide to decertify?
"If we go that route, it’s a fairly small community of lawyers who handle those things. I think it’s the same guys (who handed the NFLPA and NBAPA)."
Are there risks in decertifying?
"Of course. Once there’s no union, there’s no rules I guess essentially. Players don’t have rights that fall under collective bargaining agreements. It’s sort a scary proposition for both sides."
Recently, Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik and goaltender Michal Neuvirth were critical of the NHLPA. As someone who is directly involved in the negotiations, how do you react to a NHLPA member criticizing the direction of the association?
"We’re not going to have everybody that thinks the same way. That’s just not going to happen with 700-plus people. People need to make their opinions known. I think there’s better ways to do it than going out in the paper. Especially when it doesn't appear that they necessarily understand everything that’s going on. I saw one of their comments that this fight was just about a few star players. Clearly they just don’t understand what’s happening. It’s disappointing but at the same time it’s not surprising. You hope that every single guy is completely informed and understands each step of the way and wants to have internal discussion. But it’s not going to happen. So far, we haven’t had many of those incidents. But we do want guys voicing their opinions within the group. I can tell you, their opinions, from what I can tell through my experiences, are not widely held."
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