MLB players tell owners negotiations are over, ask 'when and where' they can report
A look at Dodger Stadium ahead of the 2019 playoffs. MLB owners claim they will lose money for every fan-free game this season. (Arash Markazi / Los Angeles Times)
Major league baseball player Assn. On Saturday, the owners said that negotiations had ended and the commissioner's office should prescribe how long the season would be and when the players should report to work.
"Further dialogue with the league would be futile," said Tony Clark, executive director of MLBPA, in a statement. "It's time to get back to work. Tell us when and where."
The union prepared the stage for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to impose a short season, which is expected to be around 50 games, and the union asked the owners to explain how they would do it by Monday. The players would gamble for the pro rata salaries provided for in an agreement dated March 26 and would not give the required approval for an extended postseason requested by the owners.
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Major Clark Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark has released the following statement today:
03:34 - June 14, 2020
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"Players agree that one day's work is worth a day, especially in a situation where players and their families are asked to take additional burdens and risks," wrote MLBPA negotiator Bruce Meyer in a letter Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem. "Given your continued insistence on additional hundreds of millions of dollars in wage cuts, we expect these negotiations to be over."
Even if the owners prescribe a season, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, the two sides still have to agree on a health protocol that covers coronavirus tests and which safety measures are stipulated in stadiums. It is possible for some players to miss out and lose about a third of their previously guaranteed salary to play a third of a season.
"We are disappointed that the MLBPA has decided not to negotiate in good faith," said MLB in a statement on Saturday evening.
MLB statement: "We are disappointed that the MLBPA has decided not to negotiate in good faith."
05:10 - June 14, 2020
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A complaint would follow the imposition of a season, provided there was no last minute agreement. That would be heard over the course of the season when the MLB argues that the players have not negotiated the salary in good faith and the MLBPA argues that the owners have not negotiated in good faith over the length of the season, with the possibility that hundreds of millions of dollars could be awarded in damages.
The complaint process would lead to talks next year about a new collective agreement between leading negotiators who have spent the past two days in letter annihilation. The current employment contract expires after the 2021 season; The cold climate between the parties increases the already considerable risk of the MLB's first work stoppage (lockout or strike) since 1995.
The players had suggested a 114-game season and an 89-game season, both of which were rejected for too long because the owners were concerned that a coronavirus outbreak could occur again in the fall and because Fox wanted the World Series will be completed in October. The owners suggested seasons for 82, 76 and 72 games, all of which were rejected because they required less than prorated wages and because the owners packaged roughly the same amount of guaranteed money in every store.
"Further dialogue with the league would be futile," said Tony Clark, executive director of MLBPA, in a statement on Saturday. "It's time to get back to work. Tell us when and where."
On Friday, Halem, when he campaigned for the 72-game season, wrote that he must "misinterpreted" the union's willingness to negotiate in good faith as part of the offer the MLBPA submitted on Tuesday.
"After reviewing the association's counter-proposal, I am corrected," wrote Halem to Meyer.
The main dispute between the parties revolved around an agreement of March 26, under which the owners had agreed to pay pro rata salaries for all games played this season. Halem and Manfred said that the language in which both sides should discuss the “economic feasibility” of fan-free games required additional wage cuts, arguing that Meyer and the union knew this from rounds of negotiations.
When Meyer rejected MLB's 72-game offer on Saturday, he quoted a letter from MLB's deputy attorney general, Pat Houlihan, saying, "We agree ... players must accept no less than their pro rata salary. " And Meyer said to Halem: “You didn't get that language in the agreement. Indeed, it is not surprising that you carefully avoid referring to the actual language in your letter. "
Meyer also told Halem that "Halem and his colleagues, as sophisticated and experienced lawyers," cannot "seriously contest an agreement to discuss a problem," which is equivalent to an agreement to pay cuts. Meyer went on to say that MLB had failed to provide the MLBPA with documents that the union deemed necessary to support the owners' claims about the economic plight that would force such cuts.
In its Saturday statement, the league said it would evaluate what it called "the union's refusal to comply with the terms of the March agreement."
The league also insisted, like Halem in his Friday letter, "The MLBPA understands that the agreement reached on March 26 is based on the mutual understanding of the parties that players will only receive their full salaries if the game is in front of fans again and that further negotiation should take place if clubs could not generate the billions of dollars in ticket revenue required to pay players. MLBPA's position that players are entitled to virtually all earnings from a 2020 season that is played without fans is not fair to the thousands of other baseball employees who support clubs and our office in this very difficult 2020 season. "
During the negotiations, the owners indicated that their planned revenue for 2020 would be $ 2.75 billion, compared to $ 9.73 billion in the previous year, with about 70% of this year's revenue to players related to salaries, Bonuses and benefits would be allocated.
Players do not accept the financial statements of the owners and see why they should subsidize losses this year when earnings have increased in recent years as salaries have remained the same.
Halem had publicly questioned whether the union leadership had properly informed the players of the language in the March 26 agreement. This was undoubtedly a trigger for Meyer's statement on Saturday: "Without going into all of your sneaky union evasion tactics, your approach was a delaying tactic."
With the time that is critical for baseball to return to a schedule where spring training camps would have opened last week, Meyer wrote to Halem: “They spent most of April and May winning politicians over to player concessions and a so-called revenue sharing proposal to lose to the media. "
The players were particularly concerned on Saturday that the league and Turner Sports were about to reach an agreement on a new television rights contract. The New York Post first reported on the deal; The Sports Business Journal valued the agreement at around $ 3.29 billion over a seven-year period.
The deal covers future seasons rather than the current one, but the timing of the report wasn't optimal for the league four days after the St. Louis Cardinals owner said, "The industry isn't very profitable, to be honest. "
Nevertheless Manfred said on Wednesday in the MLB Network: "We will play baseball in 2020. One hundred percent."
On Saturday after news of the billion dollar gymnast deal came out, veteran catcher Chris Iannetta tweeted, "I think we know why there will be a 100% season this year."
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