I am an engineer for a construction company and when I am on a site in NY, NJ I deal with unions every day. There is vast differences between NY and NJ unions but NY unions have so much power that it is criminal, NJ unions are weaker and cant get away with the same shit but we do most of our work digging in NY so we have to deal with them more.
Sandbagging is a usual tactic from a union if your job site upsets the hall. What does that mean, if you start laying guys off that do a shitty job and the hall gets pissed because he was a son of someone that once was someone, or anything like that. The union hall then sends you more worthless guys who are sent with the intention of slowing down the job.
The players union is so small it is not hard for them to do the same thing. How would Jacobs look if his team were shut out every night for a season, think he will be as big as a hard ass if every player he uses to replace the ones not performing will do the same exact thing? Terrible for the fans but it is a union tactic that can cripple companies and it is used often in other types of unions. Anyone of talent can also demand a premium in free agency to underachieve for a team like the Bruins.
Other shady union practices include tampering with equipment if they are pissed at the contractor or if they want to delay the project.
No reason these guys cannot break hotel rooms, gear, rehab equipment in the training center, really anything that the company would have to pay for.
Another thing a small union like this could do is make an internal agreement stating a minimum price that they wont sign on for less. Such as an extreme number like 2mil minimum for any team that the union targets as an enemy. To prevent the less skilled from losing their job they can set up an internal revenue share to keep paychecks flowing to the men who sacrificed their jobs for the good of the union. This means that 5 years into the 10 year cba, with no option to renegotiate until year 8, most of the leagues bottom 6 on teams that fight the union would be making an obscene 2 mil per season.
These are terrible practices that I deal with on a daily basis but they work, many companies go under from union practices like these and in this case it can prove a point to some of the hardline owners.
In reality the fan pays the owners to see the players, the owners have the money and the team so they have the negotiating power but the fans are the revenue generator behind the league, and without the players there is no fanbase and in turn no money.