Union files Labour Board challenge


Even as they returned to the bargaining table for a last-ditch negotiation with the league, the NHLPA on Wednesday formally filed an application in Montreal with the Commission Des Relations Du Travail (Quebec Labour Relations Board) on behalf of “at least 16” Canadiens players, asking that the NHL’s planned work stoppage be declared illegal in Quebec.

The filing comes on the heels of an apparently successful challenge to the lockout in Alberta.

The statement from the PA announcing the challenge in Quebec did not list the names of the Habs players on the application.

It did say that an emergency hearing on the application is scheduled for Friday morning, at 10:30 a.m. ET, in Montreal.

“In Quebec, an employer is not allowed to lock out employees unless they belong to a union that has been certified by the Quebec Labour board. The NHLPA is not a certified union in Quebec,” the statement added.

On Monday, Dave Stubbs of The Gazette broke the news about the potential of a challenge in Quebec.

Josh Gorges and Mathieu Darche explained later Monday in a teleconference their reasons for petitioning the Commission Des Relations Du Travail (and Dave Stubbs posted the complete audio of that teleconference on HIO), saying they wanted to play and felt a work stoppage was not needed, that negotiations could continue while the season went on as scheduled.

The grounds for the challenge in Quebec differ from the one in Alberta. Under Alberta labour law, the NHL cannot hold a lockout vote unless it has first requested a mediator. The league did request a mediator and the province appointed one on Aug. 21. But the NHLPA argued in its challenge that the league showed no willingness to participate in the mediation.

The Alberta Board cancelled the hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning on the NHLPA’s challenge when the NHL apparently withdrew its claim against the union’s filing.

That could pave the way for the Flames and Oilers players to report to training camp as scheduled regardless of what happens in the 28 other NHL cities, setting up a bizarre situation in which the players on these teams will be paid once the regular season is scheduled to begin, even if they have no games to play.

As Gorges and Darche explained on the teleconference, if the filing on behalf of the Canadiens players proves successful, they too would report to camp and go through whatever preseason preparations they could. And they also would be paid starting in October.

“We are pleased that the league has decided to withdraw its application (for a lockout vote in Alberta),” Don Zavelo, NHLPA general counsel told Scott Cruickshank of The Calgary Herald , said. “We believe they can no longer claim that their threatened lockout is one that would be permitted under the laws of Alberta.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had called the NHLPA tactic “a joke,” adding that he wished the players were using their time and energy to negotiate a deal instead.

“At this stage of the bargaining, I wouldn’t be treating anything as a joke,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr told Canadian Press. “The proceeding in Alberta is a proceeding that they instituted and then abandoned.”


  1. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    This lockout blocking tactic has potential – a guaranteed eastern conference win, and 80 games with a split squad could lead to exciting trade rumours and good lineup listing on HIO. Gomez could get three goals a season easily in that context, but what would we do if Budaj won the Vezina?
    If it went on for a couple of years, we’d have no problem attracting free agents, either.
    Molson could still make a living selling $74 beers at the Bell Centre, and if our team shows up and theirs doesn’t, would we win by default? Crikey, we could have a record like the 70s dynasty again.

  2. Virauge says:

    If they can’t be locked out, then there’s nothing stopping them from playing scheduled games against eachother. Giving the Oilers and Flames play 6-7 times this season, I haven’t counted, this could give an advantage to these 3 teams in the final standings. Having a couple of extra games played would make a huge difference. If the season gets cancelled it’ll have to be Montreal vs Edmonton/Calgary for the Cup since nothing is stopping them from playing.

  3. smiler2729 says:

    I’ll say it again, F*** Bettman, F*** Fehr, F**** the NHL…

    Jack Edwards is a clam.

  4. Habitforming says:

    I’m sure that when 3 teams who contribute to keeping the sun belt teams afloat have to pay salaries without an income, the wheels will be spinning quickly in the league office. Gotta keep the cash cows happy don’t ya know?

    • B says:

      If they have to pay salaries during the lockout, then those teams would experience additional financial strains (above and beyond the increases in revenue sharing that the players want teams like Montreal to spend even more on). These strains could push the team to further increase ticket prices and perhaps even to reduce their current level of player salaries (ie: try to dump salaries). Meanwhile, teams that might end up receiving even more revenue sharing from Montreal could conceivably reduce their already much lower ticket prices (heck, they may even be able to afford some of the quality players teams like Montreal might be forced to shed :).

  5. Where do I sign the petition to have the Habs, Flames and Oilers join the KHL for a year?

    Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”

  6. rnbws.ncronwrcr says:

    So, Geoff Molson is on the.. owner side? <_<

  7. Ian Cobb says:

    Like I said before, this is going to be a very messy struggle.
    Some of the tactics that are being held back in reserve by both sides will be fired one at a time for PR effect over the coming months.

    Both sides have their heels dug in so deep, it is going to take someone like me to get them moving in a positive direction.!

  8. roman62 says:

    What if the games resumed and nobody came? The Fans should show the owners and players who really matters. No Fans, no ticket sales, no money for owners, no pay for players…. just sayin

  9. habsnyc says:

    ESPN and Yahoo both printed translations of an RDS story suggesting that the Flyers contacted Montreal about Subban.

    I may be totally wrong here, but the fact that the Flyers need a defenseman, doesn’t mean Montreal should trade Subban. I wonder if the Flyers would consider Kaberle.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Philly if they tried to make a trade and it couldn’t happen they would submit and offer sheet….that is what they did with Weber. Montreal would match it though but the money may be a problem. In Saying that I don’t see philly sending PK and offer sheet.

      • habsnyc says:

        If the Flyers sign Subban to an offer sheet, it bumps the salary for all the unsigned RFA’s in the league, which would create a lot of enemies for the Flyers at a time when owners are trying to show solidarity.

        Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  10. 24 Cups says:

    A sane overview of Bettman and Fehr.

    Maybe the room is big enough for two people.


  11. Cal says:

    Quick solution: Habs, Oilers and Flames are allowed by the league to temporarily assign all their roster players to the AHL without waivers and then the AHL team temporarily suspends those players. Voila! Enough problems to overwhelm our judiciary for years.
    Of course, these players would have to be re-instated in the event the league resumes play. Tadah!!!

    • habsnyc says:

      Three possibiilties, the QLRB decides not to hear the case and lets the parties resolve the matter, the NHL ties this up in litigation until the lockout is resolved or the league refuses to end the lockout without the salary money being returned.

      If all the labor boards rule against the NHL, we are talking about $20million per month of salary for the three teams combined, which would probably get clawed back when an agreement is signed. Each percentage point of NHL revenue is worth $40million annually. I do not think that this is a sufficient hammer to force the pace of negotiations.

      Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  12. Bripro says:

    Tweeted by Renaud Lavoie:

    Butthead; “We told the NHLPA that some of the elements offered today will be off the table come the 15th”.
    Butthead BS comment no. 2 “Nobody wants to make a deal more than I do”
    Butthead BS comment no. 3 “The players’ proposal was not much different and wasn’t acceptable”

    Butthead BS comment no. 4 He said his new offer asks for a 9% reduction in player salaries. The NHL asked for 24% in July. Under the leagues new proposal, the players would pay 9.7% escrow in Year 1. He also says they’re giving $650MM back to the players than in the initial offer. That’s an increase of $250-300MM.

    Finally, he says “We aren’t going to offer anything dramatic after thursday’s board meeting.

  13. 24 Cups says:

    I’m assuming that this tactic is to have the three owners of the Canadian teams put pressure on the other 27 owners to settle early due to the fact that the Habs, Oliers and Flames are shelling out $70M each for nothing.

    However, wouldn’t that work both ways? Wouldn’t the players on the other 27 teams be pissed that 66 NHLers are getting full pay for doing nothing? Wouldn’t they want those Canadian players to forfeit their salaries to a strike fund for the guys on the other 27 teams?

  14. habs-fan-84 says:

    The season is supposed to start on October 11; the CBA expires on September 15. In that time I have no doubt things will get resolved and we will have a season.

  15. savethepuck says:

    According to Pierre LeBrun NHLPA made an offer and NHL made a counter offer. Are they actually negotiating now?

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  16. “As Gorges and Darche explained on the teleconference, if the filing on behalf of the Canadiens players proves successful, they too would report to camp and go through whatever preseason preparations they could. And they also would be paid starting in October.”

    It’s gonna be a little awkward when Darche shows up at camp and doesn’t have a locker to put his stuff in…

    You don’t have permission to access /wp-content/cache/supercache/www.hockeyinsideout.com/news/a-win-that-slipped-away/index.html on this server.

  17. rhino514 says:

    Maybe I am missing something, but if either Alberta or Quebec agree that this lockout is illegal, there WILL be a fast resolution to the stalemate.
    There is absolutely no way the league will let the owners of the Flames, Oilers, or Canadiens lose over 50 million in salary costs and get back absolutely no income. This would just destroy those owners. I for one hope the players are succesful.
    There is such a thing as negotiating in good faith and for the good of the game, and the ownerçs intitial offer was just plain insulting. I can´t believe Bill Daly´s arrogance when he said it was a “joke” and said it would have “absolutely zero effect on the negotiating process”. It is the player´s right to make use of all the legal options at their disposal. Do you think the owners wouldn´t do so?
    To add to my disbelief, it is now reported that the league didn´t follow up the mediation process in Alberta, so they in essence made a huge, inexcusable boo-boo. The question I´d like answered is: why didn´t Goodenow try the same during the last lock-out??

    • frontenac1 says:

      Because Goodenow was a stiff. Fehr is one savvy Hombre. He could be the demise of Bettman.

    • Morenz7 says:

      You might be underestimating Bettman’s resolve, and his svengali-like power over the owners. Since the league won’t be losing $40M on the Coyotes, I would not be surprised to see that money go to the Habs, Flames and Oil for as long as it takes.

      Or they might just shaft the Canadiens, as they’re wont to do.

    • savethepuck says:

      I think the goal of this is that if 3 owners ( 10 % ) have to pay thier players during a lockout, it is more likely they will pressure other owners to at the least continue on negotiating the new CBA with business as usual and not locking out the players. This is what the NHLPA has been saying all along can be done. I’ve heard that Goodenow knew the option was available last time but chose not to pursue it.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  18. Bripro says:

    The meeting between the NHL and NHLPA is over after 3 hours.
    The players submitted an offer, and the NHL counter-offered.
    No news on the reaction.

  19. CoffinJR says:

    So when Darche says he would be reporting to camp does that mean logging onto his computer and updating the tsn “transaction” page? or did he magically sign somewhere?

    *Haters Gonna Hate*

  20. Cal says:

    Mildly put….get negotiating instead of this bs. Beavis strikes again. Deadline? What deadline? Effin’ a-hole.

  21. Timo says:

    Oh, and on this picture they still look like a bunch of sleazeballs… especially Dubinsky.

  22. Timo says:

    You know what this means, right? Gomer will still get his check, no matter what. Man, that dude is my hero.

  23. accp says:

    Friday’s meeting will be to confirm the lockout and that will be it maybe for the season maybe for ever who knows. I say if the fans don’t have a word in this and stick by what they say they’ll be used for ever …

  24. SmartDog says:

    I support the players of course. But they’re not being realistic and that’s almost as bad as what the league is doing.

    If I’m the players, given how a) salaries have grown substantially and quickly and b) it does seem to be a FACT (even if exaggerated) that a lot of teams lost money last year, AND that we have the highest revenue share % in major sports, we’re going to HAVE to give up some cash, so how can I see this as just ‘us versus them’?

    I would think something like this: let’s agree to drop from 57% (we know this is going to happen anyway), and win all kinds of other concessions instead. In other words – okay, we’ll take 55% next year, then 53%, then 51% for the duration. BUT in return we want better player protection, better contracts, better bonuses, etc. In other words – I’ll take a modest % decline which will allow us to probably maintain current salary levels (and not lose money) but the treatment and benefits will get better.

    You have to get something back. You’re going to lose some % anyway. Why not get something for it. This is how it’s going to end, I can tell you now. Why wait until Christmas to be reasonable?

    Gorges, Cole, etc. – we love you guys. But just because the league is run by dicks, doesn’t mean you can be just as stupid-headed and things are going to be okay. REAL LEADERSHIP is seeing what’s coming and adapting to that quickly. The reality is, you now have it better than the owners – you just DO. So give up what’s fair to make the league run better, and do it in a way that works for you where it can. And move on to what you do best – playing hockey.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • accp says:

      SmartDog – you’re on to something there. you make more sense than the party’s involved …

      • SmartDog says:

        I wanted to be a lawyer. But I’m not enough of an a jerk.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • commandant says:

          Your proposal is actually pretty close to what the players proposed. Unfortunately the owners also want to redefine HRR which means that they want even more of the pie.

          They also are asking for the players to take immediate rollbacks or massively increased escrow (a rollback in another form) to make this happen.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

          • SmartDog says:

            Yah but I don’t think it was nearly as aggressive.
            They want smaller raises, I’m saying agree to tread water. Let the owners catch up by taking the new profit expected to come.

            Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

      • accp says:

        SD – Gotta say reading some of your comments. you’re smarter than most of them. you’d never be one of those guys. like you said you’re not enough of a jerk … and that’s exactly what they do. jerk people around.

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      Players, apparently, would rather kill the goose than have the goose prosper. Owners would sooner goose the public. Fans are like battered spouses always coming back for more. Nobody learns a thing.

  25. Habilis says:

    Maybe Molson should just run with this…

    Have a camp, and evaluate your players before 27 other teams get the chance. Then schedule some games against the Flames and Oilers, maybe a mini-tourney in each city or something. I’m sure that people in all 3 cities would pay to watch.

    Nobody could blame the 3 owners for making the best of the situation.

  26. commandant says:

    Also Max has a new piece. NHL Happy Hour and Chasing the Perfect Hockey Player.


    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  27. commandant says:

    This is certainly an interesting development. It seems the players are doing a divide and conquer strategy with the owners.

    The meeting Friday will be pretty big.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

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