The North American Soccer League Players Association, bolstered by a favorable federal court ruling last week, expects to begin negotiating with league owners soon, Ed Garvey, NASLPA staff director, said yesterday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans last Friday agreed with the NASLPA that the league and its 24 member clubs are joint employers and that a collective bargaining agent for all players on the U.S. clubs was appropriate.
In so doing, the court upheld a charge by the National Labor Relations Board of unfair labor practices against the league. The court said that the NLRB was right incertifying the NASLPA as the bargaining agent for the players.
A finding of unfair labor practices was made by the NLRB in 1978 after the league was refused to bargain with the union after it was certified in an NLRB election.
The court ruling on the employer-club relationship, Garvey said, "is an important step forward because now the unit question has been determined and the employer identified. This will end up as being a very positive development and I think (the owners) would probably come to the bargaining table in a couple of weeks."
The league has until April 28 to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. League counsel Robert F. Rolnik could not be reached for comment.