New York, NY (Sports Network) - The NHL labor dispute is moving to the courtroom.
The league filed a class action complaint in federal court on Friday, just hours after the NHL got wind that its Players' Association would ask its executive board to proceed with a vote to file a disclaimer of interest. That is a precursor to decertify the union in order to proceed with class action and antitrust lawsuits.
The NHL issued a press release on the matter Friday afternoon.
"Today, in response to information indicating that NHL Players have or will be asked to vote to authorize the National Hockey League Players' Association's Executive Board to proceed to "disclaim interest" in continuing to represent the Players in collective bargaining, the National Hockey League filed a Class Action Complaint in Federal Court in New York seeking a Declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout.
"Simultaneously with the filing of its Complaint, the NHL also filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that by threatening to "disclaim interest," the NHLPA has engaged in an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act."
The move by both sides came a day after they met with federal mediators for a second straight time on Thursday, but the meetings were unproductive.
The two sides also met with mediators on Nov. 28 and 29, but those meetings broke off without progress being made.
Games through Dec. 30 have been wiped off the schedule. That's a total of 526 contests lost to the lockout that started Sept. 16. The Winter Classic on New Year's Day was also canceled, as was the All-Star Weekend in late January.