Bears give union OK to decertify if there's a lockout

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears have voted to allow the NFL Players Association to decertify if there's a lockout next year.

Union spokesman Carl Francis said Wednesday's vote was unanimous.

Each of the 32 teams is voting whether or not to give the union the right to decertify if teams lock out players next year. It's a procedural matter -- decertification would give the union a chance to sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout.

The NFLPA was decertified in 1989, two years after a failed players' strike. It returned as a union in 1993, when a contract was reached with the league that provided for free agency. That collective-bargaining agreement has been renewed or restructured several times since 1993, including in 2006.

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