Donald Fehr’s Disclaimer of Interest is a Sham


The NHL and the NHLPA cannot agree to terms to start a new hockey season. So, instead of bargaining in good faith, the players are currently voting on filing a disclaimer of interest.

A disclaimer of interest is where the Union terminates its rights to represent the players. Once representation is terminated, players are able to sue the NHL for antitrust violations. If sued, the NHL could possibly be faced with paying the players three times their lost salary, which to avoid such a hefty fee, see the NHL and the players settling on non-ideal terms and starting a season.

Why is it a sham though? Simply for why it is being done.

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr has continually told the players to hold out until January, claiming the best deal is yet to come. While it seems things are coming closer to a deal between the NHL and the NHLPA, there is still significant separation between the two. Instead of bridging those gaps with give-and-take negotiations, the Union under Fehr, continues to stand pat on some of their terms. If the NHLPA would bargain in good faith, the end result could benefit not only the players, but the betterment of the future of the NHL.

The NHL has countered in kind by filing a class action suit in U.S. District Court in New York. The suit is trying to establish the legality of the lockout, which would squash the players potential antitrust lawsuit. The NHL also filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NHLPA, claiming they are bargaining in bad faith. If found in favor by the courts, this would disallow the Union from disbanding by a disclaimer of interest.

“The union has threatened to pursue this course not because it is defunct or otherwise incapable of representing NHL players for purposes of collective bargaining, nor because NHL players are dissatisfied with the representation they have been provided by the NHLPA,” the NHL’s complaint states.

“The NHLPA’s threatened decertification or disclaimer is nothing more than an impermissible negotiating tactic, which the union incorrectly believes would enable it to commence an antitrust challenge to the NHL’s lockout.”

The Union, of course, feels otherwise as expressed in recent statement responding the to the NHL’s claims.

“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,” it read. “We believe that their position is completely without merit.”

The NHL’s tactfully filed their claims in New York which guarantees that any ruling would be decided in New York which has been favorable towards management in the past.

The Union, lead by Donald Fehr, is not only trying to gain the upper hand, but trying to bypass negotiating entirely. Instead of truthfully trying to come to terms to benefit the players and the league, Fehr has guided the players into a take all, not going to negotiate, Disclaimer of Interest. Hopefully, for the NHL and the players, the Disclaimer of Interest will not be approved, but if it is, the courts will rule in the NHL’s favor.






5 responses to “Donald Fehr’s Disclaimer of Interest is a Sham”

  1. Erik Lee Avatar
    Erik Lee

    Seriously, I’ve loved reading your various posts on gear, players, and general hockey news. But after reading your various lockout related posts and waiting for a balanced image of the situation to emerge, all I have left to say is…”so how much is the NHL paying you guys to push this party line?” You have taken such a one sided view (and I’m not saying only once side has responsibility) that I must admit I’m disappointed that a more thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the negotiations hasn’t been published as I think your blog deserves. I mean for goodness sakes, you published a photoshopped image of Fehr with telling shadows all around his face as if he was the second coming of Darth Vader…seriously, come on!

    1. EB Avatar

      You bring up a good point that I will not argue. Both sides are to blame and both could do better to have avoided this fiasco and to be playing currently. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

      Despite this, we have written numerous articles covering varying aspects of the lockout. Mine, definitely, tend to be pro-NHL. I specifically take that stance as I side with the NHL and dislike many of the things the NHLPA has done; hence the slanted viewpoint. However, Chris’ articles on the issues tend to be more pro NHLPA. They somewhat level off, but to your point, perhaps do not offer a neutral viewpoint.

      Could we better that viewpoint? Yes. But, as wanting to express our points-of-view on what is happening, there is, a slant one way or another. At least in mine.

      For the record, although I would gladly accept, the NHL has not provided us with any financial incentives for mine or our articles.

      Thanks Erik for being a reader and taking the time to express your thoughts. Hopefully soon, for you and for us, the lockout will end and we can get back to NHL season related articles.

  2. JW Avatar

    This article is garbage. You are a sham and I hope you are never on my side in any collective bargaining.

    The only sham is Buttman and the NHL ownership pretending, very poorly, to negotiate while they are getting their NBC money regardless.

    1. EB Avatar

      Fair enough. A question though. Is the NHLPA wanting to do away with the Union as a negotiation tactic to gain the upper hand or are the players unhappy with their representation? If it is the former, it is a sham.

  3. Knapper Avatar

    Written by Jeremy Jacobs and edited by Bettman. Blindly accepting propaganda from the Owners is irresponsible. Attempting to say that the owners have ever negotiated in good faith is embarrassing.
    The facts are that the NHL locked out the players, owners have NEVER made ANY concessions, players bargained away 12% of salaries, the sides agree on money, and the owners have a salary cap.
    The owners get the benefit of a salary cap because there is a PA and the PA agreed to it. The owners refuse to do what it takes to keep the beneficial salary cap, so now they are in danger of losing it. The owners won’t make concessions, so the owners have not bargained. Why should the PA allow the owners to use union laws against them?
    The PA is about to decide that they are done negotiating collectively. No court can permanently stop them. If the PA doesn’t want to be “a union”, they don’t have to. That right is absolute. No one, no court, no owner can force them to be a union.
    If that scenario happens, the individual players can sue for their contracts, the contracts that the owners promised to pay. Just like anyone else would sue to recover wages they were promised.

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