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NHLPA Seeks to Block Lockout Under Provincial Labor Law

With the clock ticking towards an 11:59 p.m. contract expiration this Saturday night, a fascinating international labor law issue has suddenly emerged and it threatens the apparent unified strategy of the NHL owners to lockout the players.

There are 30 NHL teams. Seven of those teams are in Canada with two teams in the Province of Alberta (the Oilers and the Flames) and one in the Province of Quebec (the Canadiens). Under the law of Alberta, before a lockout can occur, the owners must participate in a full mediation.  The NHLPA has filed a complaint with the labour board there contesting the ability of the owners to lockout the Oilers and Flames players for failure to participate in a meaningful mediation.

The issue in Quebec may be a bit more difficult for the owners. The NHLPA is contending there that the players’ union is not a group certified by the Quebec Labour Board. Therefore, the players have asserted, under provincial law, the Canadiens cannot lock out its employees.

These arguments could throw a wrench into the NHL's apparent strategy because if the NHLPA succeeds on these arguments, players from 3 of the 30 teams would have to be paid (and could not be legally locked out) during  a lock out of the other teams by the NHL owners.

Here are links to more complete stories on this issue from today's Montreal Gazette, and the New York Daily News

© 2022 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 255
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About this Author

Gerald Lutkus, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, South Bend, Labor and Employment Attorney,
Partner

Gerald F. (Jerry) Lutkus is a partner in the South Bend office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where he is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Departments. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law counseling and litigation, arbitration, collective bargaining, and media law. Mr. Lutkus has been recognized on the Indiana Super Lawyers list for his work in labor and employment Law. The Best Lawyers in America has recognized Mr. Lutkus for over 10 years for his work in commercial litigation, employment law - management...

574-237-1118
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