Major Junior Players Forming a Union?
- From today's Globe and Mail. Is this a good thing?
I am wondering on how they could do it. Under Canadian law, labor relations, is a provincial responsibility. This means each team would have to unionize as per the various Labor Relations Act in their home province. What if say the teams in Alberta don't unioinze? Can you have all the other Canadian teams unionized? What if a player playing for say Red Deer refuses a trade to Swift Current as he doesn't want to join the union? Add in the US teams would be goverened by the National Labor Relations Act and US labor law is very different from Canadian. How do you create a collective agreement that is legal in every Canadian province and meets the terms of the NLRA? We can't use the NHL as a guide as the NHL collective agreement has no legal standing at all in Canada. It is not enforcebale at least in Ontario as it fails to meet the minimum standards outlined under the Ontario Labor Relations Act. During the last lockout the NHLPA looked at becoming certfied in BC and Quebec but didn't even bother in Ontario as they knew the NHL collective agreement would not hold up in Ontario courts.
Add to this how can one argue that the players are indeed "employees" of the teams? If they are "employes" then by law - at least in Ontario they need to be paid at least minimum wage under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. Currently they are not (although more than one attorney has told me that the OHL is very vulnerable to a case if a player decided he had nothing to lose and challenged the way he was being paid. The OHL teams could potentially if they lost be "on the hook" for hundreds of thousands - may more dollars in unpaid wages going back years.)
Very interesting times.
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