NHLPA, Canadiens players lose Round 1

locks

From Hockey Inside/Out’s Brenda Branswell, posted at 8:50 pm ET:

The NHL players’ association lost Round 1 at Quebec’s labour relations board on Friday, but the substance of the case has yet to be decided.

Judge Andrée St-Georges from the Commission des relations du travail rejected a request from NHLPA and 16 Montreal Canadiens players for a provisional order to try to prevent the team from locking out its players.

But in the same terse decision, St-Georges also advised both sides they will be convened for a hearing on the merits of the question.

The players had been seeking an interim decision. Their collective agreement expires at midnight on Saturday.

The NHLPA and 16 Montreal Canadiens players filed an application with the board earlier this week that argued a lockout would be an “obvious violation” of Quebec’s labour code. It contends that an employer in Quebec cannot lock out employees unless they belong to a union that is certified in Quebec by the province’s labour board, which isn’t the case with the NHLPA.

The administrative tribunal in Montreal heard about five hours of legal arguments Friday from lawyers representing the NHLPA, NHL and Montreal Canadiens.

Lawyer Michael Cohen, representing the NHLPA, wrapped up the morning session by saying the conclusions are very simple — to declare a violation of the labour code and to order the league and the Canadiens not to impose a lockout here.

Gary Rosen, a lawyer for the NHL and Montreal Canadiens, argued the Quebec labour code doesn’t apply to the case.

Their legal team also noted the players’ association has negotiated with the NHL for 45 years under the National Labour Relations Act in the United States.

STATEMENT FROM NHL DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BILL DALY:

“We are pleased but not surprised with the Quebec Labour Board’s ruling that any lockout of players will be effective on a league-wide basis, including in Quebec. And we are extremely appreciative of the expeditious and decisive manner in which the matter was handled.

“We are hopeful that this ruling will cause the players’ association to cease pursuing these needless distractions and instead focus all of its efforts and energies on making progress at the bargaining table.”

STATEMENT FROM NHLPA REGARDING QUEBEC LABOUR BOARD RULING

TORONTO/NEW YORK (September 14, 2012) – Don Zavelo, National Hockey League Players’ Association General Counsel, released the following statement regarding this evening’s decision of the Commission des Relations du Travail (Quebec Labour Board):

“We are pleased with the ruling that the Commission released tonight. While the Commission denied the players’ request for emergency relief, it also rejected the NHL’s request to dismiss the case.  The ruling acknowledges that the players have raised issues about the legality of the NHL’s planned lockout that require a full hearing on the merits.

“We remain confident that the lockout is prohibited by the Quebec Labour Code and look forward to presenting our case to the Commission in the near future. Should the NHL carry out its threat to lock out the players in Quebec, it will do so at its own risk.”

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