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Friday, November 12, 2021

Previewing Baseball’s CBA Talks

There are a plethora of ways that the MLBPA could attempt to improve the players’ financial position in the next CBA. For example, Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal have reported that the union’s initial proposal to management included increases to the minimum salary and luxury tax thresholds, as well as modifications to the league’s existing arbitration, draft order, revenue sharing, and service time rules.

Conversely, the owners will likely be looking to preserve as many of the economic gains they have achieved over the past several CBAs as possible. And while MLB likely realizes that it will need to make at least a few economic concessions to the players, the owners will certainly expect to receive something substantive from the union in return.

For instance, an expanded playoff is something that MLB will likely pursue during the negotiations, an issue that the union could potentially trade-off in exchange for some meaningful economic concessions from the owners. Meanwhile, one lingering item on the owners’ wish list during the 2016 CBA talks is getting the union to sign off on an international amateur draft. MLB has reportedly attempted to revive this concept during the current talks, although an international draft is probably marginally less pressing for the owners today since they were able to successfully implement meaningful spending limits on international amateur signings in the last CBA.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:58 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor issues

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   1. Jack Sommers Posted: November 13, 2021 at 12:38 PM (#6052807)
the union would appear to have relatively few meaningful, substantive concessions to offer the owners outside of an expanded playoff format, any substantial, dramatic changes to the game’s economic system are probably unlikely — barring an extremely lengthy (and potentially cataclysmic) work stoppage.

That's from the middle of the article, and the link is to a 2018 article.

One thing I was wondering is whether the union has a financial mechanism to protect their most vulnerable members ?

Guys that have been making over 10M a year for the last several years should have no issues weathering a lockout or strike of any length.

But guys that have been making league minimum or early arb wages are not in the same boat.

Can and/or does the union have members set aside rainy day funds to give them the leverage they need to squeeze the owners ?

For example, if every union member contributed 1% of their earning to this fund, and that fund was used to financially support the lowest paid players, they could have almost perfect unity and the ability to strike as long as they need to bring ownership to their knees. Obviously the 1% is just a number....could be a lot less needed to achieve this, or it may need to be a higher number.

Just a thought. It's probably a stupid one.......or maybe something like this is already done. Just thinking out loud and I'm not as well informed as I should be, so thought I'd ask.

   2. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2021 at 07:19 PM (#6052865)
The MLBPA has always had strike/lockout funds in the past (one of the first things Miller did it sounds like), presumably they have one now. The MLBPA Trust also donated substantial funds to minor-leaguers (not nearly enough but it helped ... remember, they aren't members of the union unless on the 40-man) and charities during covid 2020 (and probably 2021 but I didn't check). The MLBPA gets a sizable chunk of the lux tax money, lord knows what they do with it but sticking some in a strike fund seems sensible.

As you note, it wouldn't take a big sacrifice on players' part. Total payroll is about $4 B per year so even a 0.5% strike fund withdrawal would be $20 M per year, saved up over a few years and you can make sure no member starves. (You can't guarantee some of them might have to start budgeting.) I doubt the strike fund is anywhere near that large though but again there should be no problem weathering the storm.
   3. winnipegwhip Posted: November 13, 2021 at 07:26 PM (#6052866)
It was at one time that once a player was placed on the 40 man roster he was eligible to be part of the union. Part of this membership involved payment TO players from the union based upon royalties the MLBPA secured (video game rights, baseball card images etc.). This was evenly divided amongst the members. For many this was considered a substantial amount. I imagine similar plans exist today.
   4. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6052904)
The issue is a)stars making big money and having a big money lifestyle and basically live paycheck to paycheck. They don't like work stoppages. B)lower tier players who as tr time sensitive and want as many breaks as possible. They don't like work stoppages either.

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