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NBA labor dispute faces decertification threat, deadline for negotiations

The league and the union remain deadlocked after a weekend of discussions

After another long round of labor negotiations, NBA Commissioner David Stern tried to get things moving Sunday by issuing an ultimatum and a deadline for the deals to end.

Stern announced a deal must be reached by Wednesday. The union must accept the league’s proposal of a 50-50 revenue split and new restrictions on free agency and team payrolls, or risk having to take only 47 percent of the revenue for players, along with a hard salary cap, as a substitute.

However, the union called the deadline artificial, according to reports by The New York Times. Union executive director Billy Hunter says unions need to hold firm for 52.5 percent of the revenue.

“My position is I don’t think there should ever be a circumstance where owners make the same or more than the players,” Hunter told The New York Times.

Still, the NBA talks face a strengthened threat in decertification, or the dissolving of the union, if a deal is not reached. If the union compromises too much, players could force its decertification, therefore leaving no representatives for negotiations, an unsatisfying situation for both the league and the union. However, if the league continues to force the ultimatum, the union may be able to find the 130  player signatures it needs to submit a petition to the National Labor Relations Board for decertification, reported ESPN.com, a move they can use as leverage against the ultimatum.

If Stern’s ultimatum does not spur the union-wide vote he is hoping for, the Wednesday deadline may pass with the threat of decertification facing both parties. In that case, the entire 2011-2012 season may be lost.

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