NHL Lockout: Will the Labor Issues Extend into the Regular Season?
The NHL lockout does not seem to be going away anytime soon. It has been almost two weeks since the league and the players association sat down to talk about the now expired collective bargaining agreement.
The lockout is the league's fourth work stoppage in 20 years. Last week, the league canceled its first week of preseason games and more cancellations are on the horizon if the NHL and NHLPA cannot come to an agreement on a new CBA.
Both sides will meet in New York on Friday to discuss what are being called "non-core economic issues." This means that the league will not focus on the issues they are far apart on, but will focus on little things like pensions, medical plans, drug testing and scheduling to hopefully gain some momentum and hit the big topics in stride.
The biggest sticking point in the negotiations is how to divide Hockey Related Income. In the most recent CBA, the players received 57 percent of HRI. The NHL's first offer to the players was a 14 percent decrease—quite ludicrous.
A 50-50 split is something that seems logical for both sides.
In a Forbes.com article, Alicia Jessop points out that the NHL should take a page out of the NBA's book on how to solve a labor dispute:
A review of the history of the NBA lockout should provide the NHL and NHLPA guidance in how to settle the HRI issue. Under the previous NBA CBA, players received 57 percent of Basketball Related Income (“BRI”). This is notable, as NHL players received 57 percent of HRI under the most-recent NHL CBA. After over four months of negotiations and the cancellation of games up until Christmas 2011, the NBA and NBPA ultimately settled upon a 50/50 split of BRI, with the possibility of that number sliding between 49 to 51 percent for players.
Another issue holding up negotiations is the salary cap. The players are refusing to take a 17.5 percent pay cut after years of record revenues, while owners maintain that the contracts they gave out are too big.
Whose fault is this? The teams and owners who sign players to ridiculous decade-long, $100 million deals are to blame. What would you do if your boss told you that revenues are at record high, but they want you to take a 17.5 percent pay cut? Sounds fairly unreasonable.
So, with all that said, it's safe to say the sides are still very far apart on the big issues.
Friday's meeting will tell us a little more, but most likely the NHL will be announcing more cancellations—soon.
According to a tweet sent out by Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press , Bill Daly, deputy commissioner and chief legal officer of the NHL, says the league is committed to staying on schedule for the season:
Bill Daly says NHL remains "100 per cent committed" to not missing regular-season games.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 24, 2012
With the season's slated start date just over two weeks away, the two sides will have to pick up the pace in negotiations if they don't want to miss any regular-season games.
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