The North American Soccer League Players Association picked up some support in Congress yesterday in its effort to gain recognition from the league as bargaining agent for the players.
Despite the advances, Union officials said they probably will have to gain final redress in the courts, and the process could be lengthy.
Ed Garvey, the NASLPA staff director and Tony Chursky, goalkeeper for the Chicago Sting who is the group's president, president, testified before the House Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations, giving details of the union's abortive strike in mid-April and flinging accusations at the Department of Justice for irresponsible actions that led to the end of the work stoppage.
The NASLPA is awaiting its day in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the NASL, will appeal a Sept. 1, 1978, National Labor Relations Board ruling that the owners must engage in collective bargaining with the players' union. Garvey said it would be six months to a year before that litigation could be settled.
Still, Garvey said, the support from the s committee was helpful because his union would need clarification of the Immigration and Naturalization Service ruling on players w,o enter the United States on H-1 and H-2 visas for "temporary, nonimmigrant workers."
Garvey said the strike was called after receiving assurances from Department of Labor and INS officials that work permits of players holding H visas would be suspended during a legitimate work stoppage.
Since the Department of Labor certified the strike, Garvey said players holding such vias should not have been allowed to play, or serve as strikebreakers, during the strike.
Several subcommittee members indicated that revision of the INS regulation and the subsequent Justice Department ruling was necessary.
"I hate to say it, but it appears this regulation gives the employer tremendous leverage over the H-worker," Subcommittee Chairman Frank Thompson Jr. (D-N.J.) said. "I hope this situation somewhere along the line is rectified."
William Clay (D-Mo.) referred to the fact that soccer players by terms of their H visas are not allowed to seek other employment.
"They have no right to strike and find another source of employment," he said. "The choice is between starvation and playing soccer. So they are used as strikebreakers."