The National Lacrosse League has announced that Arbitrator Thomas Rinaldo has upheld the Commissioner's authority to reasonably reject player contracts that are not consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement or League Bylaws. The Arbitrator's decision was issued in the cases filed by the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA) on behalf of seven players challenging the Commissioner's authority to reject player contracts.
The Arbitrator also ruled that matching offers to Restricted Free Agents are limited to the compensation set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and shall not include promotional monies. The grievances were filed on behalf of players Paul Dawson, Jordan Hall, Jarrett Davis, Dan Dawson, Cody Jamieson, Jeff Zywicki and Aaron Wilson. The arbitrator denied the grievances of Paul Dawson, Cody Jamieson, Jeff Zywicki and Aaron Wilson. The arbitrator remanded the grievances of Jordan Hall, Jarrett Davis and Dan Dawson to the parties for resolution while retaining jurisdiction. The league was represented by Robert Lanza of the New York City office of Hiscock & Barclay LLP.
The arbitration hearings were held in Buffalo on June 2 & 3, 2011 and in New York City on September 19, 2011 and October 6, 2011. Following the hearing on October 6, the parties agreed to a stay of the proceedings to allow time for good faith bargaining on certain provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league made a bargaining proposal to the PLPA on February 15. The parties met during the weekend of All-Star game in Buffalo. Following the meeting, the PLPA requested the financial information of the teams. Despite having provided the PLPA with financial statements and tax returns of the teams, the league has yet to receive a counter-proposal from the PLPA.
Now that the arbitrator has issued his decision, either party may now opt out of the final two seasons (2013 & 2014) of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement on or before June 25.
"We are pleased that the arbitrator confirmed the League's authority in rejecting contracts as well as rejecting the Paul Dawson grievance on the matching offers," said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "Notwithstanding this positive decision for the NLL, the current economic model needs to improve. We will now fully review the decision with our Board and proceed accordingly with respect to making a final decision on opting out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."