June 15, 2020

Talks For Possible 2020 Season Reach A Stalemate As Union Rejects MLB's Latest Proposal

On Saturday night, after MLB again proposed a shortened 2020 season (72 games) with a reduction in per-game pay, the Players Association effectively walked away from the table, stating it believed the negotiations to be over.

MLB's proposal called for a 70% reduction in players' salaries, 80% if the postseason were played to completion. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that further talks appear to be futile.

If MLB returns with a new offer that does not include a pay cut, the Union would listen, but there is little indication MLB will do that. Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to unilaterally set a schedule of X games as long as the players are given 100% of their full prorated salaries, as per a March agreement.

Bruce Meyer, lawyer for the Players Association:
Players remain united in their stance that a day's work is worth a day's pay, particularly in a situation where players and their families are being asked to take on additional burdens and risks. Given your continued insistence on hundreds of millions of dollars of additional pay reductions, we assume these negotiations are at an end. If it is your intention to unilaterally impose a season, we again request that you inform us and our members of how many games you intend to play and when and where players should report. ... We demand that you inform us of your plans by close of business on Monday, June 15. ...

Your refusal to play (regular season) games in October is purportedly based primarily on concern for player health. We believe this is a pretext. We note that we requested information at our May 31 meeting on any basis for not playing games in October. You agreed to provide such information but we have yet to receive it. Other leagues are planning on playing in October and November, and we have proposed having the flexibility to play games at neutral sites if necessary to address any safety concerns. We believe your position is part and parcel of your general bad faith determination to play as few games as possible to punish players for refusing to capitulate to MLB's demands for massive pay cuts.
It was also reported on Saturday that MLB had agreed on a new $3.29 billion deal with Turner Sports, one of its broadcast partners. The deal is worth nearly $500 million per season from 2022 through 2028.

That news only strengthens the Union's belief that MLB is lying about its allegedly dire financial state. The Union continues to ask MLB to provide evidence of its financial claims. Clark said the Players Association had asked MLB weeks ago for information regarding the Turner arrangement, but MLB refused to provide it.

No comments: