NHL lockout goes to courts after league files Class Action Complaint, Unfair Labor Practice Charge

The NHL has gotten out in front of the NHLPA's threats to decertify, filing two separate motions late Friday.

The first, a Class Action Complaint in New York Federal Court, seeks a declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout. The second, an Unfair Labor Practice Charge, alleges that the players' plans to disclaim interest constitute "bad-faith bargaining."

That's right, they're accusing the players of bad-faith negotiating. It's kind of ironic, I know. (But I guess they'd know what that looks like, right?)

From the NHL's press release:

Today, in response to information indicating that NHL Players have or will be asked to vote to authorize the National Hockey League Players' Association's Executive Board to proceed to "disclaim interest" in continuing to represent the Players in collective bargaining, the National Hockey League filed a Class Action Complaint in Federal Court in New York seeking a Declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout.

Simultaneously with the filing of its Complaint, the NHL also filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that by threatening to "disclaim interest," the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

What's the benefit in these filings? By getting out ahead of the players, the NHL just picked the state in which proceedings will be held, for one. You'll notice that the release specifies that the Class Action Complaint has been filed in New York.

As Chris Johnston of Canadian Press points out, "New York has been known to be more favorable to sports leagues."

Gotta love the concrete jungle. In the words of the great Shawn Carter, "Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York."

Anyway. Here comes the "order" half hour. I'll cue up the sound effect:

UPDATE: The NHLPA responds, and this may shock you, but they disagree with the NHL's position:

"The NHLPA has just received a copy of the National Labor Relations Board charge and has not yet been served with the lawsuit. However, based on what we've learned so far, 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. We believe that their position is completely without merit."