Labor Relations Newsbeat
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 19, 1917:
Ray Schalk, catcher of the Chicago Americans, signed a 1917 contract [last night], in defiance of the orders issued by [players’ fraternity president] Fultz. He said he had received an increase in salary and had no reason to hold out.
Washington Times, January 19, 1917:
[Cubs pitcher] Al Demaree is out with a protest against the Fraternity leader’s making the Chicago National League club a goat in the troubles now facing magnate and player.
“The action of Fultz in calling the strike on February 20, the day the Cubs are to report,” says Demaree, “makes the Chicago club and its players the targets…Nor is it fair to discriminate against President Weeghman. He’s a fine man and has gone to a lot of expense in giving the players this trip to California…”
Also in the Washington Times 100 years ago today:
[Washington] Manager Griffith admits one of his regular players has signed his 1917 contract.
“My players joined the fraternity because the others were doing it, but not one had his heart in the scheme.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Tacoma Times, January 18, 1917:
Ty Cobb, Detroit slugger, speed merchant, said but two words in defining his stand on the baseball strike situation. “I’m neutral,” said the Georgia peach, in a telegram to a St. Louis sport editor today. He had been asked whether he would join the Tigers on their spring training jaunt or line up with Dave Fultz in the proposed strike.
Washington Herald, January 18, 1917:
The tip was out, but could not be confirmed, that [AL president] Ban Johnson and [AFL president] Samuel Gompers were as close as Damon and Pythias. Indeed, it was said unofficially that Johnson held a contract that bound the federation not to butt into baseball.
This contract was subscribed to by the union heads some years ago as a means of settling a labor strike that arose in connection with the building of the Cleveland American League Club grandstand. The unions of the Middle West have been going strong for the American League for some time.
This is obviously 20/20 hindsight on my part, but it’s almost like the entire universe was jumping up and down, screaming and waving red flags, trying to tell union head Dave Fultz not to call a strike.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 17, 1917:
David L. Fultz, president of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity, [yesterday] set February 20 as the date the players’ strike is likely to become effective.
[Fultz:] “If the present baseball tangle is not straightened out by that time…not one of the 18 leading members of the [Cubs will report to spring training]...The other clubs, who had unsigned fraternity players, will be up against a similar situation when they order mobilization at the training camps. The players simply will not budge.”
Cubs pitcher Al Demaree on a Fultz’s strike threat:
“All I can say is that we pledged our loyalty to Fultz and the fraternity. We would be poor fraternity members if we didn’t. I shall not say a word about Fultz’s letter, for I was not authorized to make it public.
Tepid support from Demaree. Following this story is like watching a slow motion trainwreck.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Bridgeport Evening Farmer, January 16, 1917:
Baseball is to be unionized. The [ballplayers’] fraternity, through its President, David L. Fultz, applied in Washington, D.C., for a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Samuel Gompers, President of the Federation…said there was no doubt that the fraternity would be admitted to membership.
Tacoma Times, January 16, 1917:
The entire Boston Red Sox baseball club will go on strike if Dave Fultz, head of the baseball players’ fraternity says the word, in the opinion of Duffy Lewis, star outfielder.
An anonymous player quoted in the Washington Times, January 16, 1917:
“We are not fairly represented in all statements sent out from fraternity headquarters…Major league players did not pledge themselves to a sympathetic strike in the interests of minor league men. We agreed not to sign contracts until the major leagues eliminated disability clauses. That has been done. We have no further quarrel.”
We know how this situation played out, but in retrospect, it seems pretty apparent that Fultz should have had some idea that he was overplaying his hand.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 13, 1917:
Threats of David L. Fultz, president of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity, to call a strike of between 600 and 700 players unless their demands are granted before the beginning of the 1917 season were answered by B.B. Johnson, president of the American League, here [last night].
“We never again will listen to any proposal he may offer,” President Johnson said. “We invite him to carry out his bluff…The American League will see that Fultz is crushed; driven out of baseball.
Ouch. Fultz did indeed call for a strike, but you can probably guess how well that worked out.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The minimum monthly salary for rookie and short-season Class A umpires, which had started at $1,900 under the previous five-year agreement, will rise to $2,000 under the new deal and increase to as much as $2,300 for a fourth-year umpire.
For full-season Class A, the minimum rises from $2,000 to $2,100 and increases to $2,600 by a seventh season. At Double-A, the minimum goes up from $2,300 to $2,500 and rises to $3,100 by a ninth season. At Triple-A, it goes up from $2,600 to $2,900 and rises to $3,900 by a 14th season.
Per diems increase by $2 annually, to $44.50 this year at Class A, $50 at Double-A and $58 at Triple-A. In 2021, they will be $52.50 at Class A, $58 at Double-A and $66 at Triple-A.
Monday, December 05, 2016
OTP articles are traditionally whimsical, but not much whimsy is abroad these days. Since labor relations are always political, here’s an actual baseball-news item for a change:
Word broke late last week of a new five-year CBA as a deadline fast approached. The luxury-tax threshold — officially called the Competitive Balance Tax — and tougher rules surrounding it quickly emerged as a central theme.
Despite those enhanced rules, what’s glaringly evident is that MLB no longer sees the need to curb overspending via a hard salary cap. That talking point had lingered since the New York Yankees began annihilating everybody with free-agent spending that led to four World Series titles and two other finals appearances from 1996 to 2003.
(Views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)
Posted: December 05, 2016 at 10:21 AM | 2020 comment(s)
Sunday, December 04, 2016
Most in the baseball media have declared management as the winner in the sport’s latest round of labor negotiations. Over the last two days, I’ve portrayed the outcome as a split decision by illustrating how the new CBA will do little to change the prevailing trends in the game. But, that begs the question: is the status quo good for the players?
Friday, November 18, 2016
Washington Times, November 18, 1916:
Following the action of the minor leagues in refusing tho consider several demands filed with them by the Baseball Players Fraternity, comes the hint that there many be a general strike by the men who drew salaries for displaying their skill on the diamond.
“If the players decide to go on strike we will not try to stop them,” said a big baseball man yesterday. “The ball parks will be kept closed next spring if a majority of the players do not sign contracts…[if there is a strike,] club owners will fight the players to a finish. Organized baseball cannot afford to surrender to them.”
The players’ demands were entirely reasonable: Prevent clubs from suspending injured players without pay, allow players who were unconditionally released to sign elsewhere immediately, allow travel expenses for things like reporting to spring training and reporting to minor league assignments, and change the way players’ claims against owners were heard.
Seems crazy that owners would have been willing to drive the sport off a cliff in order to prevent these changes, but I guess labor relations were different in 1916.
for his generous support.
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