Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2437445
 


 



Lessons from the NBA Lockout: Union Democracy, Public Support, and the Folly of the National Basketball Players Association


Matthew J. Parlow


Marquette University Law School

May 15, 2014

Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2014
Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 14-17

Abstract:     
By most accounts, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) — the union representing the players in the NBA — conceded a significant amount of money and other contractual terms in the new ten-year collective bargaining agreement (2011 Agreement) that ended the 2011 NBA lockout. Player concessions were predictable because the NBA’s economic structure desperately needed an overhaul. The magnitude of such concessions, however, was startling. The substantial changes in the division of basketball-related income, contract lengths and amounts, salary cap provisions, and revenue sharing rendered the NBA lockout — and the resulting 2011 Agreement — a near-complete victory for the owners. Several interpretations have been offered to explain the lopsided deal, including the financial strain on players during the lockout and the players’ emotional reactions to the negotiations. These justifications are intriguing, particularly in light of the racial overtones that marked the entire process. These explanations have significant merit, but they fail to completely account for why the NBA players agreed to such drastically unfavorable terms. This article provides a fuller analysis of how this surprising result came about. In doing so, it takes an interdisciplinary approach using communications and industrial relations scholarship that highlights the critical importance of intra-union communications, public relations campaigns, and union democracy. Through this analysis, this article not only assesses the missteps of the NBPA during the NBA lockout, but also provides guidance to professional sports unions for future collective bargaining negotiations during periods of labor unrest.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 73

Keywords: National Basketball Players Association, sports law, unions, labor, collective bargaining, contracts, lockout

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: May 17, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Parlow, Matthew J., Lessons from the NBA Lockout: Union Democracy, Public Support, and the Folly of the National Basketball Players Association (May 15, 2014). Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2014; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 14-17. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2437445

Contact Information

Matthew J. Parlow (Contact Author)
Marquette University Law School ( email )
Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 941
Downloads: 185
Download Rank: 98,190

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.390 seconds