PFT Daily: The relevance of American Needle to the labor situation

The NFL Players Association believes the decision in the American Needle case represents a victory.  The league believes it’s irrelevant to the question of labor relations.

So why is the union embracing the ruling?  And why is the NFL stepping away from it?

PFT Daily breaks the situation down in (mostly) understandable terms.  But if you feel the need to watch it twice in order to be sure that you fully grasp the nuances, we won’t complain.

7 responses to “PFT Daily: The relevance of American Needle to the labor situation

  1. What impact, if any, will this have on the Starcaps case argument that the Williams were employed by the NFL and the Vikings?

  2. Hopefully, the unions won’t destroy pro football like every other industry they’ve hijacked (steel, auto, railroads, airlines, education, etc…).

  3. If affirmed, wouldn’t American Needle have only made the NFL a single ECONOMIC entity, therefore, it would still be 32 seperate entities on labor issues. Therefore, the NFLPA would still be able to decertify and bring an antitrust challenge. So, the Union would have the same amount of bargaining power.
    I thought the NFLPA wasn’t a party because this decision does not directly effect labor disputes because they are still protected by the antitrust laws.

  4. Ugh, couldn’t be bothered to watch this after 1) a greedy 15 second commercial wasted my time and 2) Florio saying ‘American Needle’ 3 times inside of the next 10 seconds…
    Here’s all one needs to know (from the Detroit Free Press, still a semi-legit news outlet):
    “The high court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling throwing out an antitrust suit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers, who was upset that it lost its contract for making official NFL hats to Reebok.”
    The NFL’s case was agreed upon by all of the right and left leaning Judges. When does that ever happen?!?
    Don’t blame the unions (@hardhat), it was the legal justice system claiming that the good ol’ rich boys of the NFL owner’s club were somehow up to dirty tricks of suppressing free market competition.

  5. Peoria Viking … This doesn’t have any practical effect on the Starcaps case.
    The funny thing (before this decision) was that the NFL was arguing that it is a single (economic) entity with regards to things like merchandise licensing in American needle, while at the same time arguing, in Starcaps, that the Vikings (not the NFL) was the Williams’ employer under Minnesota law.
    Therefore, the NFL was essentially acknowledging that it is 32 separate entities for labor issues (Starcaps) and a single entity for economic issues (American Needle).
    However, the Williams case is based on a state law challenge to the NFL’s drug testing policy. It does not require concerted action like American Needle’s antitrust challenge (which requires 1) concerted action, 2) an unreasonable restraint on trade, 3) an effect on interstate commerce). Therefore, the issue in American Needle was whether the 32 teams were acting in concert or as a single economic entity. The issue in Starcaps is whether the Vikings or the NFL is the Williams employer under Minnesota law. So they are actually totally separate issues and this decision won’t have any impact.

  6. Bob, thank’s for your excellent answer! That’s very helpful in sorting the differences between two seperate issues!

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