Saturday, November 9, 2013

Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee (Silverman I) case brief

Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee (Silverman I) case brief summary
516 F.Supp. 588 (1981)

Petitioner National Labor Relations Board sought temporary injunctive relief under § 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.S. § 160(j), to require respondents, baseball player relations committee, to rescind their action by which they implemented their bargaining proposal regarding free agent "compensation." If granted, the relief would preclude major league baseball's players association from commencing a strike.

Major league baseball's players association filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging the failure of the player relations committee and certain baseball clubs to bargain in good faith for refusing to comply with the association's request for financial disclosure in violation of §§ 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act (Act). The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint charging a violation. The Board sought injunctive relief that, in essence, would preclude the players association from commencing a strike.

  • The court denied the petition. 
  • Although good-faith bargaining required that claims made by either bargainer be made in good faith, an employer was required to disclose its financial condition only when the employer claimed an inability to pay during the course of bargaining. 
  • Public statements made by representatives of the committee and club owners regarding free agency's financial impact on the ability of the clubs to pay ballplayer salaries were not made during bargaining sessions. 
  • Therefore, the statements were insufficient to support a finding that they injected the inability to pay into the negotiations.

The court dismissed the petition.

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