The National Labor Relations Board dismissed a lawsuit filed by Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung against the NFL Players Association over the union’s recently ratified collective bargaining agreement, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Okung is reportedly likely to appeal the decision and must do it by May 20.
The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed Russell Okung’s charge against the NFL Players Association, according to a letter obtained by NFL Network.
Okung has until May 20 to appeal, and a source close to him said an appeal is likely.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 7, 2020
Russell Okung’s NFLPA lawsuit falls short
Okung’s lawsuit contended that the union’s leadership ignored two votes against the proposed CBA by its executive committee, of which Okung is a member. He claims the union then ignored a 17-14 vote by the 32 team representatives (with one abstaining) in which the CBA fell short by two votes of the required two-thirds majority.
Still, the CBA was reportedly sent out for a vote by all players, who approved it by a 1,019-959 margin.
Okung also accused union leadership of attempting to muzzle him, alleging he was improperly investigated and threatened with punishment, according to The Washington Post’s Mark Maske. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and another union attorney were named in the lawsuit.
Former Panthers safety Eric Reid, currently a free agent, has also challenged the validity of the CBA, claiming the finalized version wasn’t the same document players approved. The NFLPA has denied those claims.
While the NLRB dismissed Okung’s lawsuit, it didn’t necessarily say his complaints were without merit. According to The Athletic’s Daniel Wallach, the NLRB ruled against the complaint as a jurisdictional issue, possibly opening the door for a complaint in federal court.
The bulk of Russell Okung’s NLRB complaint was focused on the claim that the NFLPA violated its own constitution in how it handled the CBA vote.
Today’s NLRB dismissal steers clear of that issue as a jurisdictional matter.
Meaning it’s ripe for federal court review right now. pic.twitter.com/sBZxwiPPNm
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) May 7, 2020
While Okung was dealt a significant blow Thursday, it does not appear this matter is over yet.
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