Bears will vote to decertify union on Wednesday

The Chicago Bears players are expected to hold a vote on Wednesday to decertify the union, a step players have been taking leaguewide as they continue to gear up for a labor showdown with owners as the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in March.

Interestingly, the Bears will hold their vote while the league’s 32 owners are huddled in Chicago for the NFL’s fall meeting. Maybe the timing is just a coincidence or perhaps it is a message the players want to send to owners about their serious stance on the matter.

“"I don't focus much on the rhetoric," commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday when asked about other teams holding decertification votes. "I focus on trying to get something done."

If players for the NFL’s 32 teams vote to decertify the union, it could make things very interesting because the 32 teams and the league could no longer operate with antitrust exemption.

“It's necessary because the legal process of decertifying is not an overnight deal. We need to have the wheels in motion," Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, the team’s player representative, said last month. "Why do it? It's the difference between fighting a legal battle under labor law, ownership vs. a union, and under antitrust law, ownership vs. a group of individuals trying to work at competitive wage. A union can't sue.

"Players want to make sure that in the event that owners bring this lockout upon us all, we are ready to fight to get back on the field."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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