CHLPA And Player File Lawsuit Against Halifax Mooseheads

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CHLPA And Player File Lawsuit Against Halifax Mooseheads October 31, 2012 8:03 AM

Joshua Desmond, with the assistance of CHLPA Attorneys, filed a complaint with Nova Scotias Labor Standards Division. Allegations are that he is owed approximately $12,000 based on average hours of work between August of last year and April of this year.

Desmond is 19-year-old former a defenseman for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, that is now playing for the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners, in the Maratimes Junior Hockey League.

If successful, the complaint could will likely the door to hundreds and possibly thousands of similar claims worth potentially millions of dollars in retroactive pay. A case such as this is seen as a landmark or precident setting case that will be used as the measuring stick and guide for all other actions that follow.

"I am filing this complaint because I was not being paid minimum wage," Desmond wrote by hand on the complaint form.

He earned $48 per week for approximately 41 hours of work, the complaint alleges.

Desmonds complaint is likely to be just the first. As TJHN has learned that as many as nearly all players on the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League have signed membership cards to join the fledgling union. TJHN has learned that 19 of 25 players have signed Union Cards as of publication.

The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles appear to be next. Reports have Eagles players prepared to sign Union Cards this week.

In response, the Team issued a statement after receiving a certification application from the CHLPA.

“The Screaming Eagles take our commitment to our players very seriously; that is why we will be actively arguing that the CHLPA is not a recognized union,” the statement said.

“In the coming days, we will continue to speak with our players and their families and ask that before they agree to anything that they do their research into the CHLPA and who is behind it.”

The union is preparing for Quebec players to take legal action with the Labor Standards Commission to ensure … "they meet the minimum conditions of work in Quebec," said a French-language press release issued Tuesday.

TJHN has also learned of similar actions being organized in Ontario, the hear of the CHL is the Ontario Hockey League. The multi province attack plan, and its varried approach may prove to be a very effective approach. Using different approaches in different provinces can help the Union determine where its strongest legal arguments are. If defeated in one province on one item, but successful in another province in another approach, one can always re file an action based on the successful approach.

With CHLPA attorneys working in a "pro bono" manner on behalf of the organization, the CHLPA has already developed a distinct advantage. With no legal costs to assume upon start up, the Canadian Hockey League, its Major Junior League Members and their member teams are going to spend a lot of money defending these allegations. The question the CHL and its members must also answer is, "Are we prepared to spend?". That question must be answered sooner rather than later.

By Joseph Kolodziej

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