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Friday, June 12, 2020

FiveThirtyEight: Do Baseball’s Labor Fights Drive Fans Away?

The ramifications were more severe for the 1994-95 strike, which pushed back the start of the 1995 season by 23 days. Before the strike, the 1994 season had set an attendance record of 31,256 fans per game. That plummeted by 20 percent in 1995, and though attendance increased by 6 percent in the 1996 season — and grew year-over-year in four of the five subsequent seasons — 1996’s numbers were still 15.2 percent below that 1994 high-water mark, which would not be eclipsed until 2006. But despite that, attendance had rebounded to levels from earlier in the decade, and 1997 — the year before Sosa and McGwire gave baseball their great home run chase1 — saw the third-highest average on record at that time.

And though television ratings for the World Series have been declining for decades, 4 million more people watched the post-strike 1995 World Series, in which the Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians, than the pre-strike 1993 Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 02:47 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: fivethirtyeight, labor

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Eugene Freedman, baseball scribe and labor lawyer, on unionizing the minor leagues

So why would this pose an impediment to organizing the minor leagues? “By the time you have an NLRB petition for an election, and then the election takes place, the majority of that legally created bargaining unit would no longer be the same people,” Freedman explained. That’s because the process of unionizing takes time - a long time. “The signing of cards to request an election, challenging individual voters, and then the election, that usually takes six months to a year,” Freedman said. Six months is an entire baseball season - so by the time the NLRB has said the minors can hold an election, players could have been promoted out of the minors, or dropped from affiliated baseball completely. “In that time, there could be 100% turnover at the lower levels of the minor leagues and 50% turnover even at the Double-A level,” Freedman said. “And that would allow the employers to challenge the legality of the union.”

In this way, a minor league baseball union could face challenges similar to the organization of another transitory industry. “Colleges are [doing this] to prevent organizing by teaching assistants and graduate assistants,” Freedman said. “And if you can delay an election for two years, it’s not the same people who signed the cards, and therefore the election is off.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 28, 2020 at 12:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor, minor league

 

 

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