MLB players union rejects owners’ request for federal mediator, urges league to come to table | Professional soccer
NEW YORK — Twenty-one hours after Major League Baseball requested federal mediation, rather than release its planned counteroffer, the Major League Baseball Players Association has denied the league’s request.
The MLBPA released the following statement on Friday:
“Two months after their lockout was put in place, and only two days after committing to Players to make a counter-offer, the owners refused to make a counter-offer and instead requested mediation. After consultation with our board of directors and taking into account various factors, we refused this request.
“The clearest path to a fair and timely deal is to come back to the table. The players are ready to negotiate.
This latest development in the ongoing MLB lockdown, which Commissioner Rob Manfred instantly cleared once the previous CBA expired Dec. 2, was expected as the players’ union reportedly viewed the league’s request for a federal mediator as a just a publicity stunt. Mediators are usually called upon when both parties have made good faith proposals to resolve the established disagreement.
Max Scherzer, Mets pitcher and member of the MLBPA’s executive subcommittee, outlined the key differences between the teams on Friday. “We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t work as caps, allow younger players to realize more of their market value, make service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy” , wrote Scherzer.
Given that MLB did not make its final counteroffer and that MLBPA had a negative experience with a federal mediator during the 1994 strike, the players’ union would have felt that a mediator had no sense at this point.
In a statement Friday, MLB reiterated its willingness to mediate and said it hoped to start spring training and the season on time. As Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon pointed out, this supposed urgency rings hollow. “If the goal is to get players on the field as soon as possible, then why has it taken 43 days post-lockdown to even hear from MLB?” Taillon tweeted after the posting. of the MLB statement. “It didn’t seem like a priority then!” Why didn’t we receive a counter-proposal this week? These are all extremely tired antics/optics.
“When you’re trying to negotiate a collectively bargained deal… ‘negotiation’ is necessary,” Yankees pitcher Zack Britton tweeted Friday.
So, the MLBPA’s rejection should come as no surprise, given the sluggish pace and lack of productivity of the negotiations thus far. Once Manfred initiated the lockout, MLB waited 43 days to meet the players union again at the table. Since then, only four meetings have taken place between the two sides over a two-month period.
Spring training, scheduled as early as February 14 for some clubs, is likely to start on time following the league’s apparent reluctance to negotiate. MLB’s latest U-turn in making a counter-offer clearly contradicts Manfred’s previous rhetoric. In a Dec. 2 statement aptly titled “A Letter to Baseball Fans,” he suggested the lockdown was put in place by the owners to speed up the negotiation process.
“Put simply, we believe an off-season lockdown is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” Manfred wrote. “We hope the lockout will relaunch negotiations and bring us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time.”
Manfred continued: “To be clear: this difficult but important step does not necessarily mean that matches will be called off. In fact, we’re taking this step now because it’s accelerating the urgency of a deal with as many leads as possible to avoid hurting the 2022 season. Delaying this process further would only put spring training at greater risk, opening day and the rest of the season – and we cannot allow an expired deal to cause another mid-season strike and missed World Series, as we experienced in 1994. We owe you all, to our fans, better than that.
“[Manfred’s] statement was followed by 6 weeks of silence,” Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield tweeted Thursday. “I could give you example after example, but this pretty much sums up what the past 2 years have been like.”
On Friday, after the MLBPA rejected the league’s request for a federal mediator, several players joined the effort to bring MLB back to the bargaining table by tweeting the hashtags “Still pending” and “At the table. “. Players and owners are said to be in deep disagreement over fundamental economic issues, which MLB says are non-starters.
“The only thing holding us back is the league dragging its feet in negotiations that will lead to lost games in 2022,” Twins wide receiver Mitch Garver tweeted Thursday. “I feel bad for the fans mainly because I know all the players want to be at [spring training] in a few weeks, so when we’re ready to figure it out, players will be ready.
The ball is back in Manfred’s court, as the players urge MLB to come back to the table and negotiate in good faith in a timely manner. In other words, nothing has changed for a few days when MLB agreed to submit its counteroffer before reneging on that assurance and standing still. There are less than two weeks left before pitchers and catchers show up for spring camps. If these recent proceedings are any indication, fans can count on the delay to the start of Spring Ball.
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