Policy in the Pit Discussion Looks at NFL and NBA Labor Negotiations
Harrisburg Correspondent - Published: November 18, 2011
The final Policy in the Pit event on the Harrisburg campus took place on Thursday, November 17, 2011 on the Harrisburg campus. Distinguished Professor Michael Cozzillio spoke for over an hour on the extended labor negotiations involving the National Football League owners versus the players. He also included an analysis of similar problems the National Basketball Association faces with their lockout in place.

Professor Cozzillio started off by explaining the basic labor law and anti-trust principles that are relevant to the current NBA and recent NFL issues. He also explained the Sherman Antitrust Act that prohibits collusion and restraint of trade. He also explained the Clayton Antitrust Act that carved out labor exemptions.

He then applied the relevant facts as they relate to sports unions. Unions are the exclusive bargaining representatives for all players. For example, despite there being separate teams and entities, all NBA or NFL employees are represented by their collective bargaining unit, either the NFL or NBA Players Association respectively. There is an exception granted by the Supreme Court that allows players to negotiate their salaries if they have a unique skill level and unions are willing to allow the individual bargaining.

There are several potential anti-trust issues that surface but are hard to litigate due to labor exceptions in the Antitrust acts. Most recently, the NBA players have decided to decline the latest collective bargaining agreement offered by the NBA and instead file litigation against the NBA. Cozzillio predicts that there will be an abbreviated season for the NBA that will probably start in mid January.

Professor Cozzillio also spoke on the decertification of the unions and the stigma of free agency. He recommended that students stop by his office if they have any questions or wish to read more literature on these issues.